Leclerc: Ferrari should not get carried away about early pace

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc up close in testing. Barcelona February 2022

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc up close in testing, putting in the laps in the Ferrari F1-75 Barcelona February 2022

Charles Leclerc has warned against reading too much into Wednesday’s timesheet in Spain as teams are “hiding their true form”.

Out on track for the first time in a group setting as pre-season testing began in Spain on Wednesday, Leclerc topped the timesheet in the morning session before handing the F1-75 over to his team-mate Carlos Sainz.

The Spaniard was quickly up to speed, his fastest lap time just three-tenths behind Leclerc’s.

And although Ferrari were pipped by Lando Norris in the McLaren late in the day, they held onto second and third places.

But, as most of the drivers have pointed out, pundits too, pre-season testing is not about lap times, it’s about reliability and understanding the car.

Leclerc says he’s happy with those two aspects, at least after day one.

“It was the first time that we could really push in our new car and it felt really good to be back behind the wheel,” he said.

“We completed all the tests we wanted to and ran through our full programme smoothly, which is good for a new car.

“The initial feeling is not bad, but we shouldn’t get carried away by the timesheets, as these are early days and everyone is still hiding their true form.

“It’s impossible to have a clear picture just yet, so we have to stay focused and keep working hard. We put in a lot of laps, more than any other team, and that’s a positive we will build on.”

The Ferrari team-mates covered 153 laps on Wednesday, the highest combined total of any team in Barcelona.

“Today was the first time I was in the car with a proper run plan, unlike the previous times when we basically did shakedowns,” said Sainz.

“We could finally push a bit and start learning from these cars. The timesheet is unimportant at this early stage, but it was very positive to put in a good number of laps and get a real feel at the wheel.


“We still have a lot of work to do but today we could already start feeling some differences from last year, although in terms of getting used to it I don’t feel it’s going to take too long.

“For sure the last tenths will be tricky to find, but that is the interesting part.”


PlanetF1 Verdict


Teams are ‘hiding their true form’ in testing says Ferrari

Charles Leclerc believes that teams are hiding their true form.