Ferrari « very surprised » by the pace of Mercedes and McLaren

Given Ferrari’s performance in the more technical second sector of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit last week, it was expected that the Scuderia would lead by example at the high-downforce Zandvoort circuit. This was the case, as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr grabbed the top two positions in Free Practice 2 of the Dutch Grand Prix, however their lead over the rest of the field was slim.

First of all, it was the Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton who led the dance in Free Practice 1, the first Ferrari having fallen almost four tenths behind. In addition, these same Mercedes, this time accompanied by the McLaren of Lando Norris, finished within three tenths of the best time of Leclerc in the second session. Something to surprise the red garage.

« We look like we’re competitive again, a bit like what we expected after a very difficult weekend at Spa, but we’re also very surprised by everyone’s speed: McLaren , Mercedes and Red Bull »Sainz explained. « We all hold together in three tenths of a second. I’m sure it’s going to make things very, very close going into qualifying. And thrilling! »

If Ferrari was competitive during the first day of driving, which contrasts with what Red Bull experienced, Sainz and Leclerc however considered that the settings were not yet developed.

« I think we need to fine-tune [les réglages] »said Sainz. « In making a trick [rapide], we were far from having an ideal balance. I feel that we need to improve the first sector a little and the warming up of the soft tyre, plus the balance, a little. But it’s all about tweaking [des réglages] and small margins before qualifying. »

Charles Leclerc added: « Generally the balance has been very tricky. You have difficulty turning the car and coming out of corners it is very nervous. So we have to work on that, but I’m sure we can take a step forward. »

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