Leclerc says Ferrari SF-24 competitive in all weather

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24 on intermediate tyres at the start of the second practice session. 07.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Practice Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images
© XPB 

Charles Leclerc is sounding very confident of following up his maiden Monaco win with another successful outing for Ferrari this weekend in the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

Leclerc clearly believes that their Red Bull rivals are on the back foot again this week, with Max Verstappen sidelined from most of Friday's practice with an electrical problem on his car.

While Verstappen only completed 14 laps of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve yesterday, Leclerc enjoyed 35 laps of trouble-free running, save for a minor spin in the treacherous conditions.

Leclerc certainly didn't let that dampen his enthusiasm for the weekend, and he was encouraged by the way that the SF-24 was performing well on both slick tyres and intermediates as the weather varied constantly.

"It’s very difficult to do anything because every time you go out you face a different feeling with the car," he admitted when speaking to the media in the paddock after the end of FP2 in which he was fourth fastest overall.

"We were never really on top of the timesheets just because we didn’t do the lap at the right time in the session with the driest track," he explained. "But I think every lap we were doing we were very competitive, so that's a good thing.

“But that doesn’t mean that there isn't a lot [still to do] to improve the car," he continued. "We still have to do some changes for tomorrow that hopefully will bring us in a better position again.”

“But all in all I’m happy because we are very competitive in all of the conditions," he insisted. "We have always been pretty good at having a good starting set-up.

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24. 07.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Practice Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

"If FP3 and quali are dry, we will have FP3 to set up the car, if FP3 is wet and quali is dry, it's going to go into qualifying with a lot of unknowns for everybody."

Ferrari were caught out by the conditions at the start of FP2 when they sent Leclerc out on intermediate tyre on the perfectly reasonable grounds that it was raining and the track was already wet.

But race control hadn't formally declared it to be a wet session at that point meaning the team was in breach of Article 30.5.L of the Formula 1 sporting regulations for jumping onto the inters prematurely.

Leclerc was immediately ordered to return to pit lane, but Ferrari was still fined €5,000 for the technical violation. Fortunately it won't have any further repercussions on Leclerc's grid position for Sunday's race.

Meanwhile Carlos Sainz admitted that he had work to do to catch up with his team mate this weekend after finishing FP2 outside the top ten.

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-24. 07.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Practice Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

“You can always learn things,” he said. "Despite the track changing all the time we managed to run as much as we could and put down some decent runs with both the slicks and the Intermediate compound.

“For me it was more about mapping a bit the rain intensity, the track, how dry and wet it was, which tyre was the right one at the right time.

Sainz said that Friday had been “more than going for outright lap time and trying to put a lap on the board," adding that he had been "feeling the car in different conditions and seeing come Saturday qualifying and Sunday which will be the right tyre at the right time.”

Sainz is certainly hoping for a better result than the last wet qualifying which was for the China sprint race. "It’s not like [the driver] makes a lot of difference these days," he said.

"It’s all about how the car brings the tyre into the right temperature window. If it does, then you are two, three seconds quicker. That’s where we are focusing right now.”

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