Leclerc confident FP2 shunt ‘won’t hurt our weekend’ as Ferrari team mate Sainz targets back-to-back poles
Charles Leclerc has brushed off the heavy crash he suffered during second practice for the Mexico City Grand Prix, admitting that it was “my mistake” but expressing confidence that it will not derail his weekend.
Leclerc lost control of his Ferrari on the entry to Turn 7 in the early stages of FP2 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and dramatically slid backwards into the Turn 8 barriers, picking up significant rear-end damage.
But despite the mishap, Leclerc drew optimism from Ferrari’s pace in the first practice session, when the Monegasque backed up team mate Carlos Sainz in a one-two result.
“To be honest, the feeling is good. We’ve been pretty unlucky in FP1; on my side I had a puncture on the out-lap, so not many laps, but the few that I’ve done I was happy with the car,” explained Leclerc.
“In FP2, [it was] the same on the short runs, then I lost the rear at the start of the high-fuel [run], so [I had a] limited amount of laps, but that was my mistake – I’m confident it won’t hurt our weekend.
“We tried something on my car which I didn’t particularly like, so I wasn’t as much at ease with the car than I was in FP1, but I know what to do for tomorrow, so [I’m] confident that the performance will be there.”
Asked if he has any fears the damage could lead to component changes and a grid drop, Leclerc added: “I don’t think any of it will compromise us. I think we have enough [parts] now with all the penalties we’ve had in the past, so it should be fine.”
Sainz, who edged out Leclerc by 0.046s in FP1, was buoyed by his performance in the only representative session of the day as he looks to make it consecutive pole positions after topping qualifying last time out in the United States.
“FP1 went well, it went to plan. Then we did quite a few car changes for FP2. We don’t know if we went in the right direction or not because of the tyre testing. But I think we’re in the right spot with car balance and I think it will be a matter of which package adapts better to the high altitude,” said Sainz.
“We got as much as we could from today. Now FP3 will be another busy session, like it was in Austin, trying to get the last points of data to decide before quali and before the race, which I think is going to be an interesting one.
“There’s always a bit of a guess going into the race when you have a compromised weekend like here or Austin. There’s going to be a lot of guessing of where to put the car in the right place. But we’ve been good every time so far doing that this year and we’ve got I think a good car for Saturday and Sunday.”