What is certain, for now, is that both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc concluded their first day of activity on the track at Zandvoort with a smile.
The Cavallino tandem occupied the first two positions at the end of the FP2 session, confirming that the SF21 when it meets congenial characteristics (slow corners, acceleration sections and little impact of the PU) is still the one that conquered pole position in Monte Carlo .
The pilots, and not just them, pull the brakes, and it is a correct attitude. Lewis Hamilton, who did not take part in the FP2 session due to a problem with his power unit, and in part also Max Verstappen, who in the qualifying simulation did not put together the technical potential shown shortly after, is missing in the ranking of times issued today. very well in long-runs.
However, there is some good in Ferrari’s Friday, that is a well-balanced car that confirmed on the flying lap that it can aspire to very different results compared to a week ago at Spa.
“We must not deceive ourselves – commented Leclerc – because it is only Friday and I have the feeling that our rivals still have some potential to unleash. But also on our part I believe that there is still room for improvement, and for the moment we are satisfied ”.
Then Charles praised the Zandvoort track, which like many other riders was a pleasant surprise: “I really enjoyed it! The overpasses convey very particular sensations when you push, and on the whole the whole track is pleasant to drive ”.
With the soft tires the qualifying simulation was undoubtedly very good, an aspect emphasized also by Sainz (“I immediately felt at ease with the balance of the car and the performance and with the Soft tires we achieved good performance”), while the long runs with the soft tires completed by the Spaniard confirmed this with a slower pace than Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren.
Leclerc, on the other hand, simulated the race with the medium-sized (few riders lapped with the ‘yellow’) confirming himself slightly faster than Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, also among the surprises of the day.
The aspect on which the teams are currently most focused is, as expected, the qualifying simulation, due to the limited possibility of overtaking that the track will allow in the race. “This is why it will be very important to ensure a good position on the starting grid – confirmed Leclerc – the race pace is not as good as our flying lap and it is on this that we will have to concentrate more”.
To aim for the podium it will be necessary to qualify in the first two rows, a target that is not easy to reach, but which after the first results that emerged today does not seem to be impossible for Leclerc and Sainz.
“Some opponents have been penalized by the red flags – underlined Sainz – maybe this is why we are so high in the standings. But we certainly still have room to improve ”.
Brake pulled, in fact, to avoid the feared disappointment effect if the top-5 were missing, but data in hand could be an important Saturday that will face tomorrow, with the certainty (if everything goes for the best) that on this track it would be a an important basis also in view of the 72 laps scheduled for Sunday.