Charles Leclerc says his Friday of practice at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix has left him feeling confident about the pace Ferrari will be able to show on race day in Baku.
The Monegasque looked to have a mountain to climb in stopping the Red Bulls this weekend after Sergio Perez topped the timing sheets during FP1.
But Leclerc responded during FP2, ending the day on top of the tower.
However, it is the race pace of his Ferrari during Friday’s longer runs that has filled him with confidence as he looks ahead to the rest of the weekend.
“We’ve had a good Friday. Overall, we’ve improved from FP1 to FP2 but we still have a step that we need to take for tomorrow,” he said, in Baku.
“There are still quite a lot of question marks but the positive to take away from today is that the tyre degradation was good and the race pace is very strong, so that is good.”
Leclerc explains his power unit complains
During his final laps on Friday, Leclerc took to the team radio to complain of a loss of power. His team then reassured him that all was okay, a response that for a brief moment left the Monegasque confused.
Explaining what happened, he said: “It was no power unit problem, it was me who forgot that I’d changed something. There was nothing [wrong] there.”
Another engine problem this weekend would spell bad news for his World Championship hopes with Verstappen now ahead and Perez closing in fast.
When asked if the strong race pace he is predicting from Ferrari on Sunday could help him take back the lead in the standings, Leclerc added: “I hope so, whether it will be this weekend, I don’t know.
“If we do everything right, I think we will take it back at some stage.”