Russian Grand Prix – A Friday of over 100 laps
Scuderia Ferrari got through all its Friday programme for the Russian Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were second and fifth respectively at the end of the day. The Maranello squad drivers concentrated at first on setting up the car and validating the aero package introduced on Singapore on what is a very different circuit here at the Sochi Autodrom. In the afternoon, the focus switched to preparing for tomorrow’s qualifying and Sunday’s race, doing simulation runs on the Soft and Medium compounds.
FP1. During the 90 minutes of the morning session, Charles and Sebastian did 40 laps in total, 20 each. Charles was fastest in 1’34”462 and Seb was third with a 1’35”005.
FP2. Charles was second fastest behind Max Verstappen and Sebastian was fifth. Both drivers got through their programme bringing the total number of laps to 105. They started this 90 minute session on the medium tyres posting times of 1’34”148 and 1’34”306 respectively, before moving to Pirellis softest compound to drop the times to 1’33”497 for Charles and 1’34”201 for Seb, who made a small mistake on his fastest lap.
Long run. In the second part of the session the Scuderia Ferrari drivers began working in race configuration, doing long runs on the Soft and Medium tyres. The SF90s will be back on track tomorrow at noon (11 CET) for the final hour of free practice, prior to qualifying at 15 (14 CET). The sixth edition of the Russian Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday at 14.10 (13.10 CET).
Charles Leclerc #16
“It was quite a good day. Although we have some work to do when it comes to our qualifying pace, our race pace was very positive. The track layout can be deceptive, as it has many similar corners. But it is tricky to set up the car, because the first and second sectors are quick and once you arrive in the third sector, the tyres are not in the best shape anymore. There is quite a difference in balance from the beginning to the end of the lap. You have to find a good compromise in the set-up, which will allow you to post the best lap time without sacrificing your race pace. We tested a bit in both directions today and I think we found our way.
Our competitors are strong, and we have to keep working as hard as we possibly can to keep our momentum from the past few race weekends.”
Sebastian Vettel #5
“My day was not perfect, as in the afternoon I struggled a bit to find the right balance and therefore I never got into a rhythm. I think we can do better tomorrow as we tried different things and now we need to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.
I think we need to work more on the car and then we’ll see if we are competitive. It’s too early to tell what the pecking order is and we will get a better idea of where we are tomorrow. I don’t know what the weather is doing, but the closer we can be to the front the better it is. Anyway, we have the tyres for whatever the situation might be.
To summarise I think we can improve, in particular in terms of balance. I hope tomorrow we are on the good side of things.”