Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Singapore, 2023

Leclerc hoping Ferrari have “no bad surprises” after strong start on Friday

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

The Ferrari drivers were encouraged by their performance after topping both practice sessions for the Singapore Grand Prix on Friday.

But with several of their rival teams lapping just a few tenths of a second slower Charles Leclerc is wary they may have a fight on their hands to qualify on the front row on Saturday.

He admitted the team were “surprised” to lead the opening day of practice at the Marina Bay street circuit, “but we are not getting carried away either.”

“It’s only Friday and we expect the other teams to show more of their true potential tomorrow so we can’t get carried away,” said Leclerc. “It is true that we did not expect this kind of performance on a Friday at least and it’s a good start. But now we need to focus on ourselves and hopefully we’ll produce the same tomorrow.”

Leclerc, who has taken pole position for the last two Singapore Grands Prix, is hoping the team remain as competitive throughout the rest of the weekend as they were today.

“It’s going to be very close, for sure,” he said. “Again, I expect the others to be much faster tomorrow. So let’s see.

“I hope we won’t have any bad surprises and that we will be less competitive than what we think we are at the moment. But for now everything looks good. I hope it will be the same tomorrow.”

Ferrari took pole position for the previous round of the championship at Monza two weeks ago. But they did not expect to be as competitive at the very different Marina Bay track, with much shorter straights and many more slow corners. However Carlos Sainz Jnr pointed out the track has thrown up surprise results in the past.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“I think you always need to arrive to Singapore very open-minded,” said Sainz, who ended Friday quickest of all, 0.018s faster than his team mate. “We’ve seen in the past very weird performance swings at this track because it’s a very particular track.

“So far it looks like it’s suiting our car well and it’s going well with the way that we hit the ground running in FP1 and we could just fine-tune the set-up a bit for FP2 and be a bit quicker. So it looks good. But I do believe the track is going to change a lot for tomorrow, it’s just going to ramp up the grip a lot and it’s all about who finds the perfect set-up for tomorrow.“

Red Bull had their least competitive Friday of the season so far, lapping seven tenths of a second off Sainz’s pace. But he said “I don’t believe” they are struggling.

“When you look at their long run, already they look the strongest car. So once they sort out the one-lap pace they’ll be there fighting for pole.

“Hopefully we can be in that fight. But it also looks like Aston, McLaren, Mercedes should also be in that fight. So I think we are in for an exciting day tomorrow and hopefully we can get the best out of it.”

Bringing the F1 news from the source

RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.

By contributing 1 per month or 12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.

We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

2023 Singapore Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Singapore Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.