Bahrain Grand Prix – “The team mentality is the right one”
Formula 1 returns this weekend, after Scuderia Ferrari struggled in Australia, the team is hoping for better things over the coming Grand Prix weekend. Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, who take to the track for free practice on Friday at the Bahrain Grand Prix, the second round of the Formula 1 World Championship, spoke to the press ahead of the weekend’s schedule.
A relaxed Sebastian Vettel was first up to meet the press in the team hospitality and he tackled a variety of topics, including the performance of the SF90 and expectations for the upcoming Grand Prix. Sebastian won here last year and he has good memories, including tangible ones such as the trophy. “I love the trophy here in Bahrain. I think it’s the best of the season. It’s big and heavy, that’s the way it should be!” he said. The German even engaged in a discussion on his recently acquired and highly visible moustache. Someone referenced a resemblance to Nigel Mansell, a former Scuderia driver and the 1992 World Champion. “If I was inspired by Mansell? Well, maybe it is! I like Nigel! I think he is a great person and was a Lion in the car. I like old Nige!”
Then it was Charles Leclerc’s turn, as he was on the panel in the first official press conference of the weekend. Asked to look back at his first race with Scuderia Ferrari in Australia, Charles had this to say: “Of course, it’s something special for a driver, but I didn’t feel under any particular pressure. Actually, here, more than anything I am focussed on performing better than I did in Australia. It was not an easy weekend, as we expected more after the positive outcome of the Barcelona test. I believe our package is strong and we found the answers to our lack of performance in Melbourne, although maybe not all of them. Here we will see if the Australian performance was down to a track specific issue or something else. The team mentality is the right one”, Charles added, “and we must keep it through the year. There is a lot of work to do but I am confident the team will do everything to improve the car. We are all working together as a team and that’s good.”
Seb and Charles’ expectations:
“From a driver’s point of view, I would describe the level of difficulty for this circuit as basically ‘normal’. However, it is hard to find the right rhythm in the desert, mainly because of the sand that the wind blows onto the track. Therefore every lap is different, which can be a decisive factor, especially in qualifying. If you move just a few inches off the ideal line, you start to slide and you can throw your lap in the bin, because you just can’t make up the time you lose at this point. Therefore, the rate of mistakes is significantly higher than at other circuits. You need to be patient before overtaking, maybe waiting for the driver in front of you to have a small slide. There are two very good overtaking opportunities: at the first corner and at corner 14, after the long straight”.
“Bahrain is a pretty technical track with quite extreme conditions. So it’s always interesting for us to try different things on the car during free practice, in order to be as well prepared as possible for all the various situations that we might experience in the race. It’s a track which I really enjoy driving. I also have some very good memories here. I started here in Formula 2 and had some great races, although last year was a little bit harder as I was just at the beginning of my career in Formula 1. I can’t wait to race there with Ferrari, hopefully bringing home a good result”.
Free Practice. Now the track will give its verdict with two free practice sessions on Friday starting at 14:00 and 18:00 local time (12:00 and 16:00 CET.)