Charles Leclerc: Pole Position is possible for Ferrari in Jeddah

Jaden Diaz

Ferrari concluded the second official free practice in fourth and seventh position. Charles Leclerc was the fastest of the two Ferrari drivers, finishing about three-tenths behind Alonso’s best time.

Carlos Sainz, in seventh, was just over six-tenths behind the Aston Martin driver. The Maranello-based team initially took to the track with the medium tyre. In the final minutes, the Italian outfit completed small race simulations on the soft tyres.

Ferrari: race pace ok, flying lap values ​​still uncertain

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur was very happy with the program carried out today. He also had ideas regarding the SF-24’s aerodynamic load at the rear, which will be crucial:

“Overall, it was the session we expected. On the flying lap, it is difficult to evaluate because we don’t know the different fuel loads.

“But we did two good laps. The mini-race simulation was also good and very consistent.

“I would say it was a positive session for us.

“Although from Carlos’ point of view, it was a bit difficult due to his physical condition.”

Was your rear wing very loaded compared to the others, are you pushing the engine more than other times? 

“No, I don’t think so. I think that tomorrow, everyone will converge towards a similar level of rear load.

“We opted for this choice with the aim of making the riders adapt as best as possible, but tomorrow, the times will improve further.”

Vasseur also explained the team’s decision to do a race simulation on softs.

“When he started from the twelfth position, and it went pretty well. It wasn’t a bad stint, considering the greater degradation of this compound. It was an opportunity to try something different.”

Today’s two sessions were a slight ordeal for Carlos Sainz. He was still feverish and suffering from gastroenteritis, not ideal – especially for a city circuit like Jeddah.

However, the Spaniard gritted his teeth and declared that he still managed to carry out the planned work programme:

“It was a really difficult day. I still haven’t fully recovered from an ailment that forced me to bed for 24 hours, and I still feel quite weak.

“However, I managed to ride and make the most of the track time.

“This circuit has a lot of grip, and the very fast corners are a truly demanding test for the cars and drivers.

“I wasn’t able to push hard today, but we completed the program positively, and I hope to be better tomorrow so I can concentrate fully on qualifying and the race.”

Charles Leclerc finished FP2 in a strong P4, with the SF-24 showing promise in high-speed corners. The Monegasque thinks that the gaps will be minimal and, with the further evolution of the track that will take place tomorrow, it will be essential to put together a perfect lap:

“The circuit offered a good level of grip almost immediately. For tomorrow as well, we can expect a high evolution of the track.

“There are many of us with very close times: it will be interesting to see who will be able to extract the most from their car.“

The Monegasque was then asked to reveal his expectations for qualifying:

“Pole position? We are all close, but if I had to bet today, I would say yes!”