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Portuguese Grand Prix - Seb and Charles: “Curious about the track”

Portimão 22 October 2020

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel are keen to get on track at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, the second venue to make its Formula 1 debut this season after Mugello. “The only time I raced here was back in Formula 3 and so I was in a much less powerful car and with definitely more simple aerodynamics”, said Charles. This morning he inspected the track by bicycle along with some of his engineers. “I remembered that it went up and down a lot, but it seems even more so than I remembered from before. It will be interesting to see how the current Formula 1 cars go here, considering they are the fastest we have ever raced.”

On foot. Sebastian has never driven at Portimão and he went for the more traditional track walk around the 4.653 kilometre circuit, which was opened in 2008. It is the 31st different venue he has raced at in his Formula 1 career. “While preparing for this Grand Prix, I was able to watch some on-board footage, but whatever category they were from, the car was nowhere near the performance level of one of ours,” said the German. “I was also at Maranello and drove the track on our simulator and I have to say I found it very interesting. Now I’m curious to get on track and try it for myself and see what it’s like to drive with its blind corners, adverse camber and heavy braking points”.

Progress. Charles commented that he felt the car had improved over the past few races. “The updates we have introduced recently are going in the right direction and this weekend we will have a few more”, continued the Monegasque. “It will be interesting to evaluate them. It means free practice will be doubly useful, as we will learn the track as well as assessing the car’s performance.”

Motivation. Sebastian admitted he was not going through the best of seasons, but he said he was no less motivated because of that. “I’m not sentimental, even if Ferrari has always had a special place in my heart and mind. As we head for the end of the season, the only thing that really matters is to end this adventure with such a great team with dignity and I believe everyone is doing everything possible to allow me to give it my best, even if the car is undoubtedly difficult to drive. I think therefore that Charles is doing a great job, given he has managed to  to squeeze the maximum out of the SF1000 every time.”

Programme. The cars hit the track at 11 local (12 CET) for the first 90 minutes of free practice. The second session begins at 15, while on Saturday, the final hour of preparation for qualifying will be at 11, with the grid deciding session at 14. The 17th Portuguese Grand Prix to count for the Formula 1 World Championship gets underway on Sunday 25 October at 13.10.