The day of free practice for the Spanish Grand Prix went according to plan for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow. In the second session, which saw the fastest times being set, Charles Leclerc was third and Carlos Sainz eighth.
FP1. In the morning, work began running the Hard compound tyres, while in the second part of the session, when the work also involved a comparison of various aerodynamic configurations, Charles and Carlos were the only drivers to run the Mediums, setting best times of 1’18”996 for the Monegasque (5th) and 1’19”020 for the Spaniard (6th). Leclerc did 25 laps, Sainz 22.
FP2. In the afternoon, the team continued working on fine-tuning the balance of the car, before tackling the usual qualifying simulation on Soft tyres. It was naturally in this configuration that both drivers set their best times, 1’18”335 for Charles and 1’18”674 for Carlos, ending the day in third and eighth places on the time sheet. During the final 20 minutes, the work switched to race configuration, doing long runs while looking at management of the Pirelli tyres. The single timed lap and the long runs all confirmed that, here too at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, the gaps separating the teams just behind the top two are very small. Once again, every hundredth could make the difference in deciding the grid positions.
‘We had a good, clean day. I’ve changed my approach a little bit since Portimão. After every weekend, I try to analyse where I need to improve. So far, I’m driving a lot better and feel I am in a good place with the car, so I’m quite happy. Last year we struggled quite a lot here, and this year the car feels much better. It’s great for the whole team, especially those back at the factory who work so hard and can see it pay off looking at the numbers. It motivates us all. Tomorrow will be important with qualifying on this track. If there is a nice surprise then that will be welcome, but I think that the objective is to be just behind the front runners.’
It’s been an encouraging day for us. Right from FP1 we saw the track had quite a lot of grip, which helped with the overall balance of the car. However, in FP2, the balance went away a bit from what I was looking for, particularly for the last sector. Hopefully we can keep working and digging and put it all together for qualifying tomorrow. Reaching Q3 won’t be easy, as we expect three or four cars to be in the same tenth, so we need to make sure we are as prepared as possible.