Leclerc happy with race pace simulation

Ferrari’s Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc drives during the second practice session at the Red Bull Ring race track in Spielberg, Austria, on July 2, 2021, ahead of the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP) (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

After a good race on Sunday last weekend, Ferrari hopes to repeat the great performance once again. Charles Leclerc is happy about his pace on Friday, despite finishing only in P16 in FP2. 

FP1 was incredibly positive for the Scuderia, with its drivers in P2 and P3 just behind Max Verstappen. However, it was a completely different story in FP2, with Leclerc down to P16 and Carlos Sainz in P13. The fact is that while the two Ferrari drivers were ready to set a time with the softer compound of tires, it started to rain a bit, and their simulation was ruined. 

Despite that, Leclerc is confident that the car is competitive, and he is very happy about the long-run simulation. 

There’s still quite a lot of work to do to understand this C5 [tire] – it’s the first time we use [here], and I don’t think we are on top yet of making them work in the optimum situation.

“So we still need to work on that, but overall it’s been quite a good day – our race pace is still as good as last week, and our qualifying pace, we are still working on it…

“We still haven’t found the small step that we need to be a bit further up, but we are working on it, and hopefully we will find it from today to tomorrow.”

Carlos Sainz also said that things looked pretty different compared to last week, and maybe the different atmospheric conditions with softer tires could be the causes. 

“We put a very similar car to last week on the track and everything starts to feel different, which shows just how complex these Formula 1 cars,” said the Spaniard. “Slight changes in the wing, slight changes in track condition makes it feel like a completely different car.”

“I think we are in a very similar picture [to last weekend]. I think qualifying, just because of the amount of time you spend flat-out at this track, even if we are really good through the corners – which we are – by simple statistics and by simple numbers, with 80 percent of the lap done in full throttle, we are always going to be a bit behind.

“Then come the race, when you struggle a lot more for grip in the corners and you don’t have that extra grip from the tires, then hopefully our car comes alive and we can still keep going forward.”

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