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Learning the track

Losail 19 novembre 2021

The main aim of Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow on the first day of the Qatar Grand Prix weekend was to do as many laps as possible to get to grips with a completely new track. Therefore, the data acquired over the 104 laps that Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz completed in the two hours will be even more important than usual, when it comes to preparing for the rest of the weekend, down to the very last detail. It’s clear that there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of set-up and tyre management, especially with the softest compound.

FP1. In the first session, run in conditions very different to those that will be encountered in qualifying and the race, Ferrari completed the second highest number of laps, with 53 to its name: 26 for Carlos and 27 for Charles. The drivers started on the Medium tyres, their lap times coming down progressively: Leclerc did a 1’25”617 while Sainz stopped the clocks in 1’26”045. In the second half, they switched to Softs with which the Spaniard got down to 1’24”713, sixth fastest overall with the Monegasque close behind in 1’24”790.

FP2. The second session started at 17 local (15 CET) and the work focussed more on car set-up both over a flying lap and on long runs. Both drivers started on Hard tyres with Charles posting a 1’25”280 and Carlos getting down to 1’24”914. In the second half, they switched to Softs, both improving with Sainz’s best of 28 laps being a 1’24”033 and Leclerc completing 23 laps, the quickest in 1’24”095. The final free practice starts tomorrow at 14 (12 CET), with qualifying getting underway at 17 (15 CET).

Carlos Sainz #55

The first day on an unknown track is always exciting and challenging, as it’s obviously a completely new experience. To be honest, I think this track has surprised everyone with how fast it is and the speed we are doing around the corners. That translates into having to work harder on the set-ups we originally had in mind and having to adapt throughout the day.

We are not exactly where we want to be, so we need to improve the car overnight because the competition is very tight. I have full confidence that we can manage it and hopefully tomorrow we will be further up the order.

Charles Leclerc #16

I really like the track here at Losail, it is great. It’s always interesting to mix things up and see a new venue on the calendar.
We put in a good number of laps across our two cars today, getting to know the characteristics of the circuit and gathering as much data as possible.
Our main focus will probably be on qualifying preparation because our long-runs were already quite good.
What will be key is balancing the first and last sectors, due to tyre overheating that is caused by the high temperatures here.