Charles Leclerc unconcerned by lack of long run practice
Charles Leclerc says he is unconcerned by a lack of long run data after another reliability issue compromised his Chinese Grand Prix build-up.
Leclerc dominated the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend but his Ferrari SF90 lost a cylinder during the closing stages, which was eventually traced to a never-before-seen short circuit within an injection system control unit.
Ferrari thus cleared Leclerc’s engine for use in China but he was brought into the garage with half an hour remaining in the second practice session to allow for a cooling system check.
Ferrari stressed it was “no big concern” and that it had parked his SF90 as a precaution, but it nonetheless left the youngster missing out on the part of the session in which drivers typically undertake race simulations.
“I got a good feeling from the SF90,” he said. “There is still a bit of work to do in terms of the balance, but overall I’m pleased with the work we did.
“It’s a shame I wasn’t able to do a long run test, because it would have been useful for the race, but I’m not worried about that.
“We have all the information we need to do well and now, it’s just a case of putting everything together for qualifying, especially as I expect it to be very close between us and our competitors.”
Leclerc’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel led the way in the first practice session before trailing Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas by just 0.027s in the second session.
“We still have to do some homework, the picture is a bit similar to Bahrain, where we were competitive,” said Vettel.
“There are some parts of the track where we are very strong and others where we still have to improve.
“I expect it to be very close tomorrow and also on Sunday, so it will be key to keep working to improve the feeling with the car.”