Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Leclerc says he was “not flat out” on quickest lap

2019 F1 season

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Charles Leclerc says he wasn’t pushing flat out when he set the fastest time of testing so far this morning.

The Ferrari driver’s lap of 1’16.231 is the fastest time seen so far in testing and almost a full second quicker than the team managed in last year’s pre-season test.

“Obviously I think as [with] everything we are not flat-out,” Leclerc told RaceFans and other media after his benchmark run. “There’s still some margin, a bit obviously in myself I still have to learn and get more comfortable with the car.”

Leclerc described the team’s new chassis as “easy to drive” after his first runs in it and says he is still happy with the SF90.

“It hasn’t changed since day one, to be honest. The car feels comfortable from day one. The balance is pretty nice and it hasn’t changed today. So it’s a positive day.

“Especially after the lack of running yesterday it’s a good morning for us. It’s good to be on top but it doesn’t mean anything.”

With Sebastian Vettel due to take over the car for the final day tomorrow, Leclerc has a final afternoon in the SF90 to prepare himself before his first race for the team in Melbourne. He said he hopes to be able to complete a race simulation in that time.

“I think some race sims obviously that we haven’t done fully yet which we’ll probably do this afternoon. This is a big unknown for now because we haven’t done a full one, or I didn’t.

“But apart from that I’m pretty happy about the test we have done. As I said the car is solid I feel pretty comfortable all in it. Still a lot to learn but it’s a it’s a good start.”

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2019 F1 season

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15 comments on “Leclerc says he was “not flat out” on quickest lap”

  1. “It hasn’t changed since day one, to be honest.”

    And this is exactly the problem of Ferrari. It should have been improving just like most of other teams.

    1. Uhm, no. Not necessarily. I think you’re reading too much into his statement. He’s not saying “We’re stagnating”, he’s saying that the balance of the car is good, which (according to him) has been the case since day one of testing.

      1. Nevermind, I’ve seen your other comments. Sorry for wasting my time.

  2. And he still got within a tenth of last season’s pole time in which the driver in question without a doubt was pushing flat-out throughout the lap.

    1. I don’t think they used the c5 tyre on the Spanish gp weekend though.

  3. Wherever they ultimately stand, as will be revealed in Australia, at least for that track, before another track might change which team is stronger, at least Leclerc must be thrilled and stoked at how it has gone so far. He has had almost uninterrupted car time to start to gel with the team, so it’s onward and upward for him and SV and the team, as it appears. They seem to have little to complain about so far with their 2019 car. Of course if Mercedes is ultimately faster, then suddenly, post-testing, the Ferrari will have become too slow, and they’ll be chasing performance.

  4. Captain Obvious has spoken :)

  5. I know it’s too early to make assumptions (and jinx it) but if Ferrari built a monster of a car and Mercedes are not hitting the ground running, Charles could very well fight for the WDC. Vettel is more experienced but as last year showed, he can be a bit of a loose gun and ruin his own chances.

    To have this incredible chance in his second year in F1 must surely be exciting for him and fans (myself included).

    1. meant to say /…fight and win the WDC…/

      1. With current Mercedes pace, expect conversation such as:
        To Hamilton:”Blue flag blue flag, Leclerc is behind you”
        another lap later
        To Hamilton:”Blue flag blue flag, Vettel is behind you”

        1. it could also turn out like this so make sure you guys dont cross the bridge before you arrive to it :)

          To Hamilton: “Blue smoke blue smoke, watch out Ferrari spilling its guts on the circuit behind you”

    2. A busy year ahead for Ferrari’s management and contract clause pointer-outers.

  6. All hail to the most dominant F1 Red force of an era!

  7. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Leclerc does a Verstappen and wins the first race with his new team.

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