Leclerc targeting pole position in Singapore despite ‘very, very difficult’ day
Charles Leclerc is keeping his sights firmly set on fighting for pole position at the Singapore Grand Prix, with the Ferrari driver eager to bounce back from a challenging first day of practice.
Although he set the third-fastest time in FP1, and went one place better in FP2, the Monegasque’s day was hindered by technical problems – leaving him stuck in the garage for half of the second session.
A late run on the soft tyres put him a couple of tenths away from pace-setting team mate Carlos Sainz, and Leclerc remains confident that if his Saturday is trouble-free, he will be firmly in the mix.
“In terms of performance, it’s been a positive day; in terms of running it’s been a very, very difficult day for us. We’ve had quite a bit of problems and very limited running, we need to catch up in FP3,” said Leclerc, who enters the weekend 116 points behind championship leader Max Verstappen.
“It seems like the performance is good, but we still need to do a step from today to tomorrow. Hopefully [we’ll have] more running in FP3 tomorrow to get ready for qualifying.”
Looking ahead to the grid-deciding session, he added: “We’ll go for the maximum result. We’ll target pole and we’ll see what’s possible.”
Sainz had a slightly cleaner run than Leclerc en route to topping the times in FP2 but pointed to compromised sessions for rivals Red Bull and Mercedes as he expects a fierce battle between the three teams in qualifying.
“We faced some challenges in FP1 – definitely a surprise with how bumpy and how poor the car was in general in terms of ride, and how rough it felt out there,” said the Spaniard.
“For FP2, we managed to improve a bit the car, but we still have some things to look at, because it looks like it is going to be a tight battle for [us] six.
“I think today there were a couple of guys with issues that didn’t put probably their best possible lap time together, and I think tomorrow we all have a lot of margin to improve.
“I expect tomorrow to be a lot quicker, and I think both the Ferraris, the Red Bulls and the Mercs are going to step it up, and we’re going to need to be the ones that step it up the most.”