Charles Leclerc spots one caveat despite topping both practice sessions at Imola GP

Henry Valantine
Charles Leclerc rounds Variante Alta.

Charles Leclerc was on top in both Friday practice sessions at Imola.

Charles Leclerc finished top of the standings in both free practice sessions at Imola on Friday, but believes “conditions will change massively” come Saturday.

With that, he urged Ferrari to beat their rivals to the punch and react the best of anyone, with a change in wind direction set to change how the cars react to the unique demands of Imola come qualifying.

Charles Leclerc: Imola set to ‘change massively’ after two P1 placings in practice

Ferrari were among a host of teams to bring sizeable upgrades with them to Imola this weekend, with Leclerc going fastest in both FP1 and FP2 as the tweaked version of the car appears quicker than before.

Leclerc confirmed the updates have worked as planned, but added that the team are “keeping our feet on the ground”, despite out-performing McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes over one lap on Friday – with a change of wind direction set to bring about a significantly different driving challenge come Saturday.

“For now, everything went quite smoothly,” Leclerc said in the TV pen after the session.

“The feeling with the car is good, the upgrades on the car are working as expected, which also is a good step, and it’s been a very smooth day.

“It’s great being at home, it’s always a special feeling for Ferrari being here and having so much support all around the track – it means a lot to all of us, so it would be great if the weekend continues in that direction.

“However, tomorrow, the conditions will change massively. The wind will completely turn around, which will have a big effect on all the cars and there, we have to be the best at anticipating those changes.

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“We need to keep our feet on the ground because tomorrow is going to be big changes with the track conditions, and the track position here is absolutely everything.

“So qualifying will be super important and it will be important for us to do the job in qualifying, so there’s still a lot of work to do and we’ll give it all in order to have a great qualifying tomorrow.”

On the other side of the garage, Carlos Sainz opted to use both practice sessions to the fullest after two Sprint weekends have limited the Scuderia’s practice running of late – and the rest of the field’s, for that matter.

While a set-up change for FP2 did not work out for the better, he said he would revert to how his car felt in first practice in order to get the most out of it.

“Yeah, feeling good,” Sainz said.

“I think I had a good FP1, I felt really at home with the car, then we used FP2 as a bit of a test session to try a couple of things.

“Obviously it’s been a long time since we didn’t have the opportunity to test because it’s been two Sprint weekends in a row.

“We wanted to test a couple of items, explore a bit the car set up, probably went in the wrong direction, but we will go back to FP1 set-up and probably feel stronger again tomorrow.”

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