Formula 1
Formula 1
28 Mar
FP1 in
27 days
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
50 days
09 May
Next event in
67 days
23 May
Race in
85 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
99 days
13 Jun
Race in
106 days
27 Jun
Race in
120 days
04 Jul
Next event in
123 days
18 Jul
Race in
141 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
155 days
29 Aug
Race in
183 days
05 Sep
Race in
190 days
12 Sep
Race in
197 days
26 Sep
Race in
211 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
214 days
10 Oct
Race in
225 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
239 days
31 Oct
Race in
246 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
267 days
R
Saudi Arabia GP
05 Dec
Race in
281 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
288 days

Ferrari's Suzuka deficit a "surprise", Leclerc admits

Charles Leclerc said it was "a bit of a surprise" to see his Ferrari team off the pace during Friday Formula 1 practice at Suzuka.

shares
comments
Ferrari's Suzuka deficit a "surprise", Leclerc admits

Ferrari's mid-season resurgence has allowed Leclerc to go into the Japanese GP weekend on a streak of four pole positions, which has covered both high- and low-downforce venues.

But despite a late improvement in FP2 Leclerc was only fourth at the end of Friday running, trailing the pace-setting Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas by 0.356s.

"I think we made the most out of our day, which was the most important, but it seems we are lacking pace this weekend, which is a bit of a surprise," Leclerc said.

"Because at the end we were very strong in the last four races, we expected to be quite good here, but, yeah, it's less the case.

"The long run was not great compared to Mercedes. I think we were quite okay compared to Red Bull, more or less the same - I need to check the data, I haven't checked everything.

"On the low fuel it seems that we are lacking a little bit of pace at the moment, so we need to work on that and to try to understand. The car didn't feel bad, the balance was quite good, but it seems that we are maybe lacking a little bit of overall grip."

Read Also:

Leclerc reckoned FP2 results were "more or less the real picture of the weekend" after F1 had declared that they would serve the basis for the grid should qualifying - already postponed to Sunday morning - be called off.

Asked whether Ferrari could make big strides in the absence of Saturday practice, he said: "It's going to be difficult, realistically. But I believe that I didn't drive very well today, so I need to work on driving first.

"Then we've got a few set-up changes to do on the car, and hopefully putting everything together we'll do a step forward."

Sebastian Vettel, who caught traffic on his late attempt in FP2 and wound up two tenths down on fellow Ferrari driver Leclerc, said Ferrari was "not as bad as maybe you think" - but largely echoed his teammate's view.

"I think we were quite okay, maybe just lacking a little bit of overall pace," he said. "I think there was a bit of margin, it was not the perfect day for us so there's a bit more in the car - but you need to be honest, and Mercedes was very quick, every time they went out on track.

"Plus it looked a bit more comfortable for Red Bull as well here. So, it will be tight and I expect them both to be very strong on Sunday morning as well."

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

Japanese GP: Bottas tops FP2 session that could decide grid

Previous article

Japanese GP: Bottas tops FP2 session that could decide grid

Next article

Hamilton: Bottas had "massive" 0.5s tow on fastest lap

Hamilton: Bottas had "massive" 0.5s tow on fastest lap
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Japanese GP
Sub-event FP2
Drivers Charles Leclerc , Sebastian Vettel
Teams Scuderia Ferrari
Author Valentin Khorounzhiy
Why Verstappen isn't interested in the hype game Prime

Why Verstappen isn't interested in the hype game

In a pre-season where Red Bull has been unusually quiet, Max Verstappen has also been guarded about the team's fortunes in 2021. Even after trying the RB16B for the first time at Silverstone, the Dutchman was careful to manage expectations

The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes Prime

The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes

In the strategy for grand prix racing's future, 2021 represents a significant step towards the goal of closer racing and a more level playing field. That's the theory behind the latest raft of changes, but will they have the desired effect?

Formula 1
Feb 24, 2021
What Red Bull is trying to hide with its RB16B launch Prime

What Red Bull is trying to hide with its RB16B launch

Red Bull made no secret of the fact its 2021 F1 car is an evolution of its predecessor, but in keeping the same foundations while hiding some tightly-guarded updates with its RB16B, the team aims to avoid suffering the same pitfalls of previous years

Formula 1
Feb 23, 2021
How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo Prime

How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo

Alex Albon has faced the media for the first time since he lost his Red Bull drive at the end of 2020 and dropped out of a Formula 1 race seat altogether. He has a history of bouncing back from setbacks, so here's what he must do to rise again

Formula 1
Feb 23, 2021
Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates Prime

Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates

Carlin has helped guide enough drivers to Formula 1 to fill out an entire grid, plus a handful of reserves, to create a remarkable alumni list. With Yuki Tsunoda set to join that group, Motorsport.com has ranked its graduates to grace the grand prix scene...

Formula 1
Feb 22, 2021
Why Alfa's 2021 launch says more about its 2022 plans Prime

Why Alfa's 2021 launch says more about its 2022 plans

Alfa Romeo launched its C41 with a revised front nose, but there's little to suggest it will surge up the leaderboard in 2021. As the team frankly admits, it's putting its eggs in the basket labelled 2022 and hoping to hold the eighth place it earned last year

Formula 1
Feb 22, 2021
Why Gasly’s AlphaTauri haven is a blessing and a curse Prime

Why Gasly’s AlphaTauri haven is a blessing and a curse

Red Bull opted not to re-sign Pierre Gasly even before it decided to drop Alex Albon and so the Frenchman's Formula 1 journey will continue at AlphaTauri. This has positive and negative connotations for one of last season's star performers.

Formula 1
Feb 20, 2021
Eight things Red Bull must do to beat Mercedes in 2021 Prime

Eight things Red Bull must do to beat Mercedes in 2021

After seven years of defeat at the hands of Mercedes, Red Bull is as hungry as ever to secure a fifth world championship. But there are key challenges it must overcome in 2021 to switch from challenger to conqueror

Formula 1
Feb 19, 2021