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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc wary of ‘unknowns’ as further Montreal mayhem beckons

Charles Leclerc has underlined the "unknowns" facing teams at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but is "happy" with how Ferrari fared on the first day of the Canadian GP.

Leclerc Canada
To news overview © XPBimages

Charles Leclerc has highlighted the "unknowns" ahead as turbulent conditions look set to persist at the Canadian Grand Prix.

However, the Ferrari driver is ultimately optimistic about his team's prospects in Montreal, after a strong start to the weekend in mixed conditions.

As is often the case in Montreal - and expected throughout this year's event, too - changeable weather affected both of Friday's free practice sessions.

A hail storm delayed track running in FP1, with drivers getting some mileage on the quickly drying asphalt, despite a Zhou Guanyu-induced red flag stoppage. Later on, it would be the reserve, as conditions worsened not long after the start of FP2.

Despite the disrupted first day of the weekend, Leclerc was bullish about the Italian team's performance. The Monegasque driver ended FP1 third-fastest, and was just one spot slower in the second session, setting his time on intermediate tyres to those on softs around him.

“I mean, as much as we can in those conditions, of course," the 26-year-old said, when asked if he felt he had learned enough throughout the day. "On the car, it’s very difficult to do anything because every time you go out you face a different feeling with the car.

“But all in all, I’m happy because we are very competitive in all of the conditions. We were never really on top of the timesheets just because we didn’t do the time at the right time in the session with the driest track etc., but I think every lap we were doing we were very competitive, so that is a good thing."

Ferrari fined for FP2 breach

It was not completely smooth-sailing for the six-time grand prix winner. Prior to setting his FP2 time on his intermediate tyres, he was noted for having gone out on track with them strapped to his Ferrari before the circuit had been declared wet.

An oversight on the Scuderia's part, which landed the team a €5,000 fine after a trip to the stewards.

Furthermore, he was quick to emphasis that whilst the SF-24 was "very competitive" across all conditions on Friday, there was still a lot of work to be done.

“But that doesn’t mean that there is [not] a lot to improve on the car," he added. "We still have to do some changes that hopefully will bring us in a better position again.”

Leclerc also highlighted that with changing conditions, there were "a lot of unknowns" facing the teams - something he feels will make having absolute certainty in the correct set-up direction difficult.

“It is quite clear as much as everybody will have a scatter as to what we feel today and what we will feel if we have dry conditions," he said.

“But let’s see. If FP3 and quali[fying] are dry, we will have FP3 to set up the car, if FP3 is wet and quali is dry, it is going to go into qualifying with a lot of unknowns for everybody. But we have always been pretty good at having a good starting set-up, so hopefully we maybe try it again.”

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix - Qualifying