Outer Circuit reminds Leclerc of karting days

Jamie Woodhouse

Charles Leclerc says Outer Circuit reminds him of his karting days.

Charles Leclerc said Bahrain’s Outer Circuit that’s being used for the Sakhir Grand Prix is like a blast from the past of his karting days.

P10 in FP1 was a good start to the race weekend for Leclerc, especially since his best time in the Ferrari SF1000 was only nine tenths down on George Russell’s session-topping time.

However, a driveshaft failure in FP2 meant that Leclerc was unable to set a time.

Nonetheless, he was happy with his performance on Friday.

“We were better than expected I have to say, and FP2 also was good until the failure on my side,” he told Sky F1.

“Hopefully it will be a good day tomorrow.”

The middle sector of the Outer Circuit, which became a bit of a car breaker in Friday practice, is definitely the most challenging part of the short lap.

But while Leclerc’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel is not a fan of the track, Leclerc definitely is, saying it takes him back to his karting days.

“The kerbs are very high there and it seems that if you take them in a certain way then apparently people have broken some parts over the kerbs,” he said.

“So it will be tricky for the race especially, but I actually enjoy the track. Very few corners, it remind me a bit of the karting days too, but it’s nice and it should be a fun race.”

If the racing was as close as it is in karting then we will be in for a treat of a Sakhir GP, but is that possible?

“I don’t know because the people that have experienced the race runs in FP2 felt like it was quite difficult to overtake I think,” Leclerc replied.

“So we’ll have to wait and see but actually it will be exciting because with this long straight the one behind will have a big advantage.”

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Leclerc’s “worry” for qualifying though, as is the case for many, relates to how traffic will be managed on a very short track like this.

“Oh this is my worry for tomorrow, especially in Q1 and Q2, and then hopefully I get to Q3,” he said.

“Q1 and Q2 will be a huge mess I guess.”

Asked if Q3 is possible Leclerc said: “Looking at FP1 yes, but you can’t take it really as a representative result so we’ll have to wait and see for tomorrow, but I feel confident we can be competitive.”

While missing out on so much running in FP2 was disappointing, Leclerc has seen enough to believe he can be competitive for the remainder of the race weekend.

“Yeah I followed what I thought was right and it felt good at the beginning of FP2,” said the Monegasque driver.

“So I’m confident that we are in quite a nice place but we still have to see the final lap times to confirm it.”

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