Sport: Leclerc sets surprise Ferrari pace - PressFrom - United Kingdom

Sport Leclerc sets surprise Ferrari pace

15:25  21 september  2019
15:25  21 september  2019 Source:

Hamilton: Mercedes in Ferrari fight

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Charles Leclerc set the pace for Ferrari on day two of pre-season testing in Barcelona on Tuesday. The 21-year-old Monegasque marked his debut appearance as a Ferrari driver in style, setting a best time of 1:18.247 from the 157 laps he completed

a red motorcycle parked on the side of a road © Getty

Charles Leclerc unexpectedly set the pace in final practice at the Singapore GP as upgraded Ferrari surprisingly usurped Friday pacesetters Mercedes and Red Bull.

Although Leclerc has won the past two races, the slow-speed nature of the Marina Bay street circuit has not been expected to suit their car and Friday's timesheet - when they finished 0.8s off Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen's pace - appeared to underline such theories.

Sky F1's Singapore GP TV timesFollow Qualifying in the live blog

But Leclerc, in particular, suddenly found an impressive groove early on Saturday, with his best lap time of 1:38.192 some two tenths quicker than Hamilton and 0.6s ahead of team-mate Vettel. Ferrari have brought nose and floor upgrades to this weekend in an attempt to pile on downforce, with seemingly encouraging results.

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Ferrari ’s Charles Leclerc during qualifying for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Britain, July 13, 2019. — Reuters pic. SILVERSTONE, July 13 — Charles Leclerc topped the times ahead of Sebastian Vettel as Ferrari set the pace in Saturday morning’s damp third and final free practice for

Hell the Ferrari is quick. That understanding has shone from the eyes of all who have gaped in wonder at the Barcelona tests these past two weeks. To give their rivals hope Ferrari threw in a couple of dramas this week without ever hinting at serious frailty.

"That looks like a genuinely good lap time from Leclerc," said Sky F1's Anthony Davidson. "I thought we were going to be looking at a Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton fight."

Damon Hill added: "I think it's more than a threat than something which is simply flattering them ahead of qualifying. The car looks smooth."

Hamilton, who spun on an out lap, eventually cut Leclerc's advantage to 0.207s but Red Bull's Verstappen wound up 1.1s off the pace in sixth place.

Verstappen, who did encounter traffic on his best lap, finished just behind rookie team-mate Alex Albon, who was fifth.

Sergio Perez, meanwhile, is in danger of a gearbox penalty ahead of qualifying after hitting the barriers at Turn 21 mid-way through the session and doing damage to the rear of his Racing Point car.

At Toro Rosso-Honda, meanwhile, the team's mechanics are performing an engine change ahead of qualifying after Daniil Kvyat's STR14 starting smoking during P3. But the Russian should escape a grid drop.

In the likely battle for the final Q3 positions, McLaren appear to be the midfield team to beat heading in to qualifying with seventh-fastest Carlos Sainz and eighth-placed Lando Norris enjoying a half-second advantage over Renault counterparts Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo in Saturday afternoon's session.

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Leclerc 'still trusts' Vettel .
Charles Leclerc says he "still trusts" Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the wake of the events of the Russian GP.The relationship and rivalry between Ferrari's new young star and their experienced quadruple world champion has been a topic of conversation all season - with focus ramped up after Sunday's events at the start in Sochi.

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