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Ferrari: Still work to do in terms of race pace

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Carlos Sainz made the most of a bittersweet day for Ferrari, the Spaniard ending the day a close second in FP2, while Charles Leclerc sat out the session due to a short-circuit on the SF-23 that kept it off track.

Last year’s winner at Silverstone, Sainz showed on Friday that Ferrari have something in the tank and may well challenge a rampant Max Verstappen who topped both Friday sessions in his Red Bull. But it was close at the end of the day

When the chequered waved to end FP2, Verstappen topped the timesheets but by only 0.022s from Sainz. In FP1 Leclerc was the quicker of the pair, albeit only sixth fastest and almost seven-tenths of a second down on the benchmark time. Sainz was less than a tenth down on his teammate in seventh.

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The great Italian team reported from Silverstone:  “Friday free practice for the British Grand Prix turned out to be more complicated than expected. Lap times in qualifying trim are encouraging. Carlos was second fastest just 22 thousandths slower than Max Verstappen. There is still work to do in terms of race pace.”

Sainz was upbeat by the turn of speed he was able to extract and said in the report: “It was a challenging Friday here in Silverstone. FP1 was quite tricky because of the wind and the track conditions but we completed a good programme and I think this helped us make good progress in FP2.

“We need to keep working on tyre management and race pace. This should be our main point of focus going into Saturday, as today we could see that over one lap we were not too bad. Overall, we are quite happy but of course, there’s still some work to do,” said Sanz.

Leclerc: We will work on maximizing what we have in preparation for qualifying

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Forced to watch FP2 on the telly, Leclerc later added: “While the feeling in the car was good on the low fuel run, we still have some work to do to improve our race pace. We hope to make some steps forward, even though the conditions will be very different as we expect it to rain.”

As for his non-participation in the second session, Leclerc lamented: “It’s a shame that I couldn’t take part in FP2 because we lack some race simulations for Sunday, but we will work on maximizing what we have in preparation for qualifying and the race anyway.”

Ferrari are fourth in the 2023 F1 Constructors World Championship, ahead of Round 10, the British Grand Prix on Sunday. However, they are 24 points adrift of Mercedes in second place, who are only three points ahead of Aston Martin.

However, a strong double-point haul for the two Charlies at Silverstone when it matters, on race day, could change the standings dramatically. Provided, of course, Ferrari don’t beat themselves at their own game (as they can do)and fumble strong starting positions but rather find inspiration from Sainz’s first and only F1 victory a year ago. Ferrari have won the British Grand Prix a record 18 times.