Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are gearing up for the Singapore Grand Prix with high hopes of closing the gap to Red Bull Racing.
In the previous Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Leclerc secured a strong third-place finish, while Sainz crossed the line in fourth, marking their most impressive combined result of the season thus far.
As the Formula 1 circus converges on the Marina Bay street circuit for the Singapore Grand Prix, Leclerc remains cautious about Ferrari’s ability to replicate their Italian Grand Prix performance.
He acknowledges that Monza highlighted their strengths on low-downforce tracks but recognises the challenges posed by the unique characteristics of Marina Bay.
“We learned plenty during Monza, especially about our weaknesses,” Leclerc admitted. “It confirmed that we were stronger on low-downforce tracks, [so] obviously here it’s going to be a bit more of a difficult weekend for us.
“But there might be a few things that will help us here.”
Leclerc also anticipates a tighter competition in Singapore, with other teams, including Mercedes, McLaren, and Aston Martin, posing a greater challenge on the high downforce circuit.
“It changes so quickly,” Leclerc noted. “The tendency seems that whenever we are at low downforce tracks, we are always strong.
“On high downforce, it’s a bit more inconsistent. It’s one of my favourite tracks though, so I hope we can be at least the second-strongest team.”
Carlos Sainz, Leclerc’s teammate, shares a similar perspective on the challenges posed by the high downforce demands of Marina Bay.
While acknowledging that the circuit’s characteristics may not naturally favour their package for the current season, he maintains a realistic outlook.
“We are realistic and theory says that we should not be as quick as Monza,” Sainz admitted.
“Normally, up until now, all the high downforce races we’ve struggled a bit more than the low downforce ones.”
Sainz recognises that Marina Bay’s layout, with its sharp apexes, could mitigate some of their high downforce struggles.
However, he remains aware of the tire-related challenges posed by the hot and demanding conditions in Singapore.
Reflecting on his performance in Monza, where he clinched pole position and secured a third-place finish, Sainz expressed confidence in his growing understanding of the Ferrari car.
He noted the importance of placing the car correctly during practice sessions, which has boosted his confidence and performance.
“This year I feel like I understand the car a lot better and I’m driving better than last year,” Sainz explained.
“It’s just maybe the last two, three weekends I’ve managed to put everything together a bit more, and it shows in the results.”