It was a busy Friday for Scuderia Ferrari at the Albert Park circuit, which is hosting the first race of the 2019 Formula 1 season. During the three hours of free practice, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc carried out a full evaluation programme on their SF90s.
The drivers worked on set-up and tyres to check the handling of the car in much warmer conditions than those experienced at the Barcelona tests. Sebastian and Charles then ran with different fuel loads to simulate different phases of the race.
In the first session, both drivers did 18 laps: Vettel was second fastest in 1’23”637, fractionally quicker than Leclerc’s 1’23”673. In the second session, both men competed 35 laps; the German was fifth quickest in 1’23”473 and the Monegasque was ninth in 1’23”754.
The third and final free practice session takes place tomorrow afternoon at 14:00 local time (04:00 CET) with the first qualifying session of the year getting underway at 17:00 (07:00 CET.) The Australian Grand Prix starts on Sunday at 16h10 (06:10 CET.).
Sebastian Vettel #5
“It was fun today. Maybe we were not as fast as possibly we wanted to be and could have been, but it’s Friday, after all, so it doesn’t really matter. I am sure that by December 1st no one will remember how fast we were on March 15! I am still lacking a bit of confidence, it was a tricky day for us, as it probably was for everyone. We are not yet where we would like to be, not so much in terms of lap time but more in terms of car feel and handling. We didn’t really get into the groove and into the rhythm, which is quite important round here on such a bumpy but I think that tomorrow will be a better day and if we can get that confidence back, then there’s a lot of lap time in that. There were bits of the session that were really, really good and we can build on, so now it’s all about stringing it together and having a better day tomorrow. The night is long and our engineers are very smart. I am relaxed”.
Charles Leclerc #16
“It was definitely a busy day. We tried different tyres and types of set-up and I am very satisfied with some aspects. The first session was better than the second, maybe because the wind got up in the afternoon and we struggled a bit more to find the right reference points. Having spoken with the engineers, I believe that, nevertheless, we have understood where we have to improve and we will go in that direction. We have one more session in which we can put into practice the solutions that an analysis of the data suggests, in order to be ready for qualifying”.
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
“For the first day of free practice of the season, the most important part of the programme was getting an understanding of the car and its behaviour so as to prepare it for Saturday and Sunday. The track is very bumpy and today, the wind was very strong, which was inconvenient. The drivers are still looking for the right feeling with the car here. Now we just have to work on the set-up and get ready for qualifying”.