Following practice at Albert Park, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc appeared upbeat and optimistic. He believed that his team had taken a positive step forward in the right direction on Friday.
The second practice session in Australia saw Leclerc come in second on the timesheets. However, the session wasn’t entirely representative as the arrival of rain affected on-track running.
In the initial practice session, Leclerc had secured fifth place, trailing Max Verstappen, who had set the pace, by half a second. Leclerc was also a little over a tenth quicker than his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz.
Leclerc believed that Ferrari had made progress on Friday by trying out various setup options, despite the limited running caused by a red flag in FP1 due to the failure of the circuit GPS data.
“Quite a bit, I think we did quite a lot of scans in terms of setup direction again,” he said, when asked about his workload on Friday.
“I feel like the feeling is a bit better than the other races. So that is positive – it is probably our most positive FP2 of the season, which doesn’t mean much, but at least it’s a Friday that finishes on a positive note. So now we need to work, do another step in the right direction tomorrow and, hopefully, we’ll be a bit closer to the Red Bulls tomorrow, and especially after tomorrow!”
The Monegasque however thinks that despite Ferrari’s single-lap pace being close to Red Bull’s in their previous race in Saudi Arabia, they may face difficulties over the race distance.
Despite this, he still expects Ferrari to be a challenging competitor for Verstappen and Sergio Perez during the crucial Q3 session on Saturday.
“In quali, I think it will be close once again. In the race, unfortunately, with the rain, nobody really did the high-fuel runs. So, on that, we are going a little bit blind into the race. Maybe in FP3, we’ll see a [few] more long runs and we’ll manage to learn a bit more there.
“I think that with the different changes we’ve done today, maybe we find a little bit of performance. We must not forget that last time, we were really really struggling in the race and we won’t be finding this kind of lap time in the race but it should be a step in the right direction.”