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Leclerc expecting 'tricky race' despite setting early pace

Charles Leclerc topped the timesheets in Friday's second practice session at the Australian Grand Prix, but the Ferrari driver is not anticipating a straightforward weekend for the team in their fight against Red Bull.

Charles Leclerc is anticipating a "tricky race" in Australia, despite setting the pace in Friday's closing practice session. The Ferrari driver finished second to teammate Carlos Sainz during Free Practice 1, but went on to top the timesheets in Free Practice 2, beating Max Verstappen in P2 by 0.245 seconds. However, Leclerc believes that the track is more suited to Red Bull, particularly given the changes that have been made to the Albert Park venue since F1 last visited in 2019. "I still feel like here maybe it might go a bit in Red Bull's way," Leclerc told media including RacingNews365.com . "[It might go in the] Red Bull direction for these track [characteristics], especially after the changes. They've got a good straight line speed with the new track changes. "So we have to focus on ourselves. I still believe that if we do the perfect weekend for us, there's an opportunity for us to do a great weekend and [fight for] the win, but it might be [difficult]."

Leclerc: Albert Park not strongest track for Ferrari

Despite his belief that the circuit is more suited to Red Bull than Ferrari, Leclerc is still looking forward to the race, particularly in light of Formula 1's two-year absence from the track due to the coronavirus pandemic. "I'm really looking forward to it," he explained. "It's been two years that we haven't been here, so I'm excited to be back here with a new track layout too, with four DRS zones, so it's going to be an exciting weekend. "I'm not sure it will be the strongest track for us. It might be a bit more in Red Bull's direction, but anyway, if we do the perfect weekend I'm pretty sure that great things can happen." All in all, though, Leclerc is not expecting the Grand Prix to be smooth sailing due to the many DRS zones. "It's going to be a tricky race," the Monegasque added. "The DRS is going to be obviously very powerful here, so we might see some interesting strategies with it, and we'll have to make the best out of it and to use it in the best way possible."

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