Mercedes may only have been able to get within 0.669s of Charles Leclerc’s leading time in Free Practice 2 in Baku – but the Ferrari driver didn’t believe that was the end of the story this weekend, predicting stronger pace from the Silver Arrows in both qualifying and the race.
Leclerc finished FP2 0.324s up on his team mate Sebastian Vettel, with Lewis Hamilton a further 0.345s behind. But with Friday’s running having been interrupted by a loose drain cover that saw the majority of Free Practice 1 scratched, Leclerc believed that, despite feeling “confident” around the 6.003km Baku track, further running in Azerbaijan would see Mercedes increasingly close the gap.
“I think we are pretty strong,” said Leclerc. “On the other hand, I’m absolutely sure that there’s a lot more to come from Mercedes. They were very quick on the long runs, so there’s no reason [to think] they are slow on the short runs. So I’m pretty sure tomorrow when they put everything together it’s going to be very tight.
“[But] I am confident with this track, the car felt good today and that’s all that matters.”