Leclerc warns rivals that Ferrari are not yet running ‘flat out’
Despite lapping just shy of last year’s Spanish Grand Prix pole time, Charles Leclerc says his Ferrari team are not yet running flat out despite his 1m 16.231 lap being the quickest anyone has managed during pre-season testing in Barcelona so far.
Ferrari are already lapping almost a second quicker than they were during last year’s Barcelona test, and Leclerc’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel said yesterday that the Italian team ‘have all the ingredients’ to win the championship this year.
Despite describing his early Thursday running as “a good morning for us”, Leclerc said his lap time means little at this stage as he’s more focused right now on becoming more comfortable with Ferrari’s 2019 car ahead of his first race with the team in just over two weeks.
“The car still feels comfortable. From day one, the balance has been pretty nice and it hasn't changed today,” said Leclerc.
“It’s a positive day today, especially after the lack of running yesterday. It’s a good morning for us and it’s good to be on top but it doesn’t mean anything.
“We never know [if we’re quickest]. Obviously, I [don’t think] we are flat-out. There’s still some margin, a bit obviously in myself as I still have to learn and get more comfortable with the car.”
Asked if there’s anything he feels he is lacking at this stage with just a few hours left in the car before Melbourne, Leclerc said a race simulation was something he was eager to concentrate on this afternoon.
“I think some race sims, obviously, we haven’t done fully yet but we’ll probably do one this afternoon. That is a big unknown for now because we haven’t done a full one, or I haven’t [done one yet],” said Leclerc.
“Apart from that, I’m pretty happy about the test we’ve done. As I said the car is solid and I feel pretty comfortable in it. There’s still a lot to learn but it’s a good start."
Despite having driven Ferrari’s 2018 car last year in preparation for his debut this year, Leclerc added that his technical knowledge was a weak point right now, making it hard to for him to accurately compare the two machines he has driven.
“Very difficult [to compare] to be honest. My weakness now is the technical knowledge of the car, and that’s the something I will learn with experience I guess,” said Leclerc.
“On the driving style, [the 2019 car] feels very good. The car is very, very balanced.”
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