Charles Leclerc adds to Ferrari experience at Paul Ricard tyre test

Charles Leclerc had his first full day of running in Ferrari’s SF71H as he and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas carried out Formula 1 tyre testing with Pirelli at Paul Ricard.

Leclerc, who previously tested for Ferrari in-season in both 2016 and 2017, will replace Kimi Raikkonen at the Italian marque next season, following an impressive rookie campaign with Sauber.

Leclerc and Bottas continued Pirelli’s tyre development programme for 2019, as part of the company’s in-season run plan.

Leclerc completed 129 laps of the Paul Ricard circuit, which earlier this season returned to the Formula 1 calendar as the host of the French Grand Prix, following a 28-year absence.

Bottas, meanwhile, racked up 102 laps for Mercedes in warm and sunny conditions in Southern France.

Pirelli, which has been the championship’s sole tyre supplier since 2011, is permitted 25 days of tyre testing per season, with all 10 teams participating at various points.

Following an initial period for teams to set up their respective packages, Pirelli conducts the run plan and gathers the relevant data, which is then shared between all teams, ensuring no-one gains an advantage.

Teams are not permitted to run upgrades during these test days.

Bottas will remain in Mercedes’ W09 on Friday while Leclerc is set to hand over Ferrari’s SF71H to 2019 team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Further tests are planned with Renault in Japan and with Sauber in Mexico after the respective Grands Prix.

The 2019 tyres will be run for the first time by all teams during the traditional post-race test following the season finale in Abu Dhabi.