Leclerc issues warning to Ferrari fans ahead of Spanish GP

Charles Leclerc went fastest in both practice sessions in Spain on Friday, but he is not so sure about the Scuderia's race pace.

Championship leader Charles Leclerc is slightly concerned by Ferrari’s race pace at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, admitting that the F1-75 is not treating its tyres well.

Leclerc topped both practice sessions in Barcelona on Friday, with Carlos Sainz ensuring a Ferrari one-two in the opening hour.

Mercedes were the surprise package of FP2 as George Russell and Sir Lewis Hamilton ended it second and third respectively, with the Spaniard behind the seven-time champion in fourth.

READ: Russell calls for change amid head trauma risk

Both Ferraris managed to set faster times than the Red Bulls in the opening two sessions, setting 114 laps over the course of the day.

Juri Vips took over from Sergio Perez during FP1 for the Austrian outfit and finished FP1 20th in his first-ever official outing in a Formula 1 car, while Max Verstappen ended the opening session first.

The Dutchman and Perez were fifth and seventh in the second hour of practice as their pace appeared to lack compared to Ferrari, and their three drivers clocked a total of 108 laps.

Despite getting more mileage and going faster, Leclerc did not feel comfortable during the long runs, and indicates that they might still be behind the Milton Keynes-based side in that regard.

“There’s a lot of work to do tonight. On the short run we look strong but the high fuel run looks very difficult for now,” he said, quoted by Motorsport Week.

Article continues below

“The priority is to work on that and get better because at the moment we are just not strong on the race pace.”

The 24-year-old affirmed that the car has been “degrading [the tyres] quite a lot, for some reason” during practice, and asserts that the Scuderia must find an explanation.

“I don’t quite have an explanation for now but we need to find a reason and then we need to make it better,” he revealed.

Sainz also noted that the tyres were not behaving as well as he would like, but is optimistic that the team can delve into the data and make the necessary improvements.

“A bit of a tricky FP2 compared to a positive FP1, as we struggled a bit with tyres and balance after the changes we made,” he added.

“We need to look at it and find the correct adjustments for tomorrow, but we’ve got plenty of data and I’m sure we’ll find a more comfortable set-up.

READ: New York mayor enquires about F1 grand prix after Miami success

“It seems like there is a lot of degradation with the heat, which could be crucial for the race, so we’ll also keep an eye on that.”

Ferrari enter the weekend in Spain with a six-point advantage over Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship after Leclerc’s two wins in Bahrain and Australia.