Since this year’s Dutch Grand Prix back in the summer, Charles Leclerc moved to tenth on the list of drivers with the most race starts for Scuderia Ferrari and he is currently on 78. Now, this weekend, the Monegasque is ready to join the 100 club, in terms of total F1 races. It’s an important landmark for a driver, and Leclerc will be the 78th to have reach this figure. “To be honest, these first hundred races in Formula 1 have flown by,” admitted Charles in this afternoon’s FIA press conference. “It seems like only yesterday that I walked into the paddock in Australia in 2018 to take part in my first Grand Prix. I’m having a wonderful adventure which right from my second season, saw me join the most prestigious team of all. Our first year together was good, especially with my first two wins, but after that we struggled for the next two years. This year, 2022, we have been competitive at every race and have won three of them. Clearly, we are all working as one to get even more next year.”
Goals. For Carlos Sainz, Mexico is something of a second home race. “The atmosphere is wonderful and the fact that they speak my language here makes me feel the support of the fans even more,” he said. “You notice it especially when you get to the slowest part of the track and you pass through those really high grandstands, the cheers give you goosebumps. Our goals are the usual ones. “I am sure we will be competitive as we have been all year,” continued the Spaniard. “We will try and be in the fight for the win.” Charles had similar thoughts. “We know our car works very well in qualifying and that we are lacking something on Sunday, but we are working hard and I think there have been signs of progress in recent races. In the end, the key point is always to get the tyres up to the right operating temperature and we know that window is rather small, so that widening it is one of the goals for 2023 that we are working on in this final part of the season.” Carlos is also looking for a bit of good luck. “In the last two races, I’ve done fewer than two laps, so I think it’s time to have a smooth race with no problems. This track requires a lot of aero downforce and traction and we will try and maximise the potential of the F1-75 starting from tomorrow’s free practice.
Programme. The first free practice session starts tomorrow at 13 local (20 CET) and the second, extended to 90 minutes for a repeat of the Austin Pirelli 2023 tyre test, gets underway at 16 (23 CET).