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Leclerc ‘not too worried’ despite ‘difficult’ Friday ahead of Spanish Grand Prix

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 20: Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari walks in the Paddock during

Charles Leclerc endured a tricky start to his Spanish Grand Prix weekend, especially when compared to his team mate. Carlos Sainz was able to extract enough pace from the SF-24 to finish in the top three in both of Friday’s practice sessions – while Leclerc could only manage P11 and sixth respectively.

But despite that, the Monegasque driver remains in high spirits going into the weekend, despite margins being tight and mistakes likely to be punished. He could explain where his lack of pace came from – and fully expects to be back in the mix tomorrow.

READ MORE: Verstappen pleased with ‘more normal’ Friday in Barcelona as Perez focused on ‘super crucial’ qualifying

“I think it was a very difficult FP1 for everybody, first of all because of the conditions, it was extremely warm which makes those cars very difficult to drive with the overheating,” Leclerc said afterwards.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 21: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-24 on track

Leclerc is confident of finding more pace from his car in FP3

“Second, I think we were a bit out of place with the balance. Third, I didn’t have the upgrade at first, because we wanted to compare both cars, so all in all it was quite a difficult session on my side. In FP2 I found the feeling again, in the end put everything together and still quite a bit of pace to find.

“Overall, a bit of a difficult Friday for me but I know where to find the lap time so I’m not too worried for tomorrow.”

READ MORE: Ricciardo, Magnussen and Bottas open up on the mental challenge of racing with uncertain F1 futures

Leclerc was kept in the garage for a chunk of FP2 but explained that was simply for a set-up change that took longer than expected, rather than any reliability concerns. Having described the car as ‘horrendous’ on team radio in FP1, he was clearly happy with the direction the team had taken in the second session.

“I have a very clear vision on what we have to do on the car to make it better, and I’m confident tomorrow we will do a step forward,” continued Leclerc.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 21: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari SF-24 on track during

Sainz looks in good shape for a tilt at pole or a front row start heading into qualifying

As for the home hero, Sainz wound up third in FP1 and second in FP2, trailing Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes by just 0.022s. The Spaniard always goes well on home soil, but fourth remains his best result in Barcelona. He believes tomorrow should be a good day for the Scuderia, but sounded a note of caution for race day.

“Looks like over one lap we are reasonably okay,” said Sainz. “Over a long run we seemed to struggle a bit more – a bit like we did last year here. So, let’s see if we can put together a better package, especially for Sunday. I think over one lap we are fine.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the FP2 action from Barcelona as Hamilton goes fastest and Gasly springs a surprise

The better news for Ferrari is their latest upgrades seem to be working well, with Sainz saying he is “happy” with the boost in performance. But whether that is enough tomorrow with such tight margins between the top four teams to net the Spaniard a front row start on home soil remains to be seen.

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