Ferrari’s pace in the first two practice sessions for the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix was better than expected, according to Charles Leclerc.
The Maranello-based team struggled for pace in the opening two Grand Prix, finding themselves a long way off the pace of Mercedes, and were the fifth fastest car around the Red Bull Ring, behind Red Bull, Racing Point and McLaren.
Ferrari acknowledged that their car was not up to race-winning standard immediately, and introduced some updates for the Styrian Grand Prix last weekend, with additional items added to the car for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
In first practice on Friday, both Ferraris were sixth and seventh fastest, with Leclerc in the latter position, 1.4s slower than the pace-setting Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, but not too much could be read into the times due to the low temperature and changeable weather conditions.
And, although the timesheet doesn’t paint a great picture, Leclerc said that the pace of the SF1000 around the Hungaroring was better than expected.
“Today things went better than we expected.” said Leclerc after Friday’s two practice sessions.
“We arrived here with basically the same car we had in Austria but it seems to suit this track better, which is good to see.
“There are fewer straights here compared to the last race venue and here, we are quick around the corners.”
The second practice session on Friday was a difficult session for teams, with wet conditions meaning a number of drivers did not set any representative laptimes.
Leclerc failed to set a time, stating he struggled with the car, but his team-mate Sebastian Vettel was fastest, and the Monegasque driver added that there were positives to take from Vettel’s session.
“This afternoon, in the rain, we struggled a bit as we were trying out a few things and I wasn’t very happy as I was lacking a bit of confidence in the wet, but we’ve seen some positive signs this morning.” he added.
“In my first run on extreme wet tyres I only did two laps, which is not really representative, but looking at Seb’s lap time on the same tyre, he did a great job and there’s probably something positive to take from that.
“I am really looking forward to tomorrow.
“Hopefully we can convert these positive signs in free practice into a positive result in quali and in the race but there’s still quite a lot of work to do on my side and I’ll try to be in a good place tomorrow.”