Charles Leclerc was left disappointed with Ferrari’s performance during free practice ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Bahrain International Circuit is a venue which Ferrari know well and enjoy. Their six race wins at the venue is more than any other team, while last year in Bahrain Leclerc took his first Formula 1 pole while Sebastian Vettel made it a Ferrari one-two on the grid.
But 2020 has been a far more difficult campaign for the Scuderia and free practice ahead of this year’s Bahrain GP hasn’t filled Leclerc with much hope.
The Monegasque driver finished the afternoon session down in P14, just under 1.5 seconds off the pace.
“Difficult, I expected a bit better because normally it’s a very strong track for the team in the past few years, but this weekend we seemed to struggle quite a bit more,” he told reporters back in the paddock.
“At least the first day has been more difficult. But we are normally pretty good at fixing the issues overnight so hopefully we’ll be working well tonight and coming back stronger tomorrow.”
Leclerc said he couldn’t find any balance as he tried to negotiate the corners in his SF1000.
“Just the balance basically, because throughout the corners it’s very tricky. We go from oversteer to big understeer and it’s quite difficult to manage the car at the moment,” he replied when asked for the areas which need improvement.
“I did quite a lot of mistakes, so also my driving hasn’t been very good today, hopefully all of this will be good tomorrow and we will manage to get a good result. We are all very, very close and anything we can gain will be a big advantage.”
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) November 27, 2020
Leclerc was softer with his criticism of the prototype 2021 tyres which the drivers tested in FP1 and FP2 compared to the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, but he agreed with both that sticking with the 2019 tyres would be a better option.
“We struggled quite a bit, so I don’t know how it’s like for the other guys in the paddock, but we struggled, and balance-wise it was even more difficult for us so not great,” he explained.
“We always want more things with these tyres, but with the speeds we are going, it’s not an easy task to do. But considering the new tyres, I would rather stay on the old ones.”