The Scuderia Ferrari drivers set the two fastest times on the first day of free practice for the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. Charles Leclerc was just four thousandths of a second quicker than team-mate Carlos Sainz, as the team completed its planned work programme. As expected, there will still be plenty of work to do prior to qualifying, partly because the track seems to be constantly evolving as the sand is cleared off it and it gets rubbered in. The drivers worked on both race and qualifying set-up and a study of today’s data will guide the engineers’ choices when it comes to fine tuning the cars for tomorrow. Grid positions are particularly important at Zandvoort, because it is so twisty and narrow. As usual, qualifying looks like being very close, but particularly so here, as the lap is quite short at just 4.259 kilometres in length. Therefore the slightest detail can make the difference.
FP1. In the first session, both drivers started off on the Hard tyres, before switching to Softs after the first few runs, when the session was red flagged, after Max Verstappen stopped on track. Once it resumed, Carlos posted the third fastest time of 1’12”845, while Charles stopped the clocks in 1’13”127, which meant he was sixth quickest. They completed 30 laps each.
FP2. Leclerc and Sainz started their work on the Medium tyres, before switching again to Softs, with which they set their fastest and almost identical times: 1’12”345 for Charles, 1’12”349 for Carlos. After this, they focussed on running the car in race trim, with a heavier fuel load, Charles running Medium tyres and Carlos the Softs up until the session was interrupted when Yuki Tsunoda went off track. When it restarted for just a few laps, the Scuderia drivers switched tyre compounds. Charles did 27 laps and Carlos did 30.
Programme. Qualifying gets underway tomorrow at 15 local, preceded by a final hour of free practice at 12.