Charles Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz showcased remarkable speed during the Las Vegas GP free practice sessions. Despite Sainz facing a significant setback with a ten-place grid penalty, the Ferrari team’s spirits remain high, with Leclerc expressing cautious optimism about their chances.
In the heart of Las Vegas, the dynamic duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz seized the spotlight during the exhilarating free practice sessions of the Las Vegas Grand Prix. With their Ferrari machines roaring to life on the newly minted Las Vegas Strip circuit, Leclerc emerged as the undisputed speedster, topping the timesheets with finesse. His fastest lap, a scorching 1’40″909 on the grippy Soft tyres, left spectators in awe before an unexpected interruption.
The first session took an unexpected turn when a loose drain cover brought it to an abrupt halt, casting a shadow over Sainz’s day. The incident resulted in significant damage to Sainz’s SF-23, which, in turn, necessitated a ten-place grid penalty for the talented Spaniard. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Sainz and the Ferrari crew, but in the high-stakes world of Formula 1, challenges are par for the course.
Undeterred by the setback, the Ferrari duo regrouped for the extended second session, determined to make their mark on the Las Vegas tarmac. With the sun-drenched strip as their canvas, Leclerc and Sainz blazed through 39 laps each. They meticulously employed three sets of the lightning-fast Soft tyres for their qualifying simulations, pushing the boundaries of their machines. Additionally, they strapped on a set of trusty Medium tyres to fine-tune their race trim, leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of excellence.
Their tireless efforts bore fruit as they not only set the two fastest times of the session but did so with authority. Leclerc, with his scintillating pace, clocked a mind-blowing 1’35″265, while Sainz, determined to overcome adversity, delivered a commendable 1’35″782. These stellar performances not only showcased their one-lap prowess but also underlined their ability to gauge their race pace effectively.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, leaving the Las Vegas Strip bathed in neon light, the Ferrari team, though challenged by adversity, remained resolute. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz had left an indelible mark on the glittering desert city, setting the stage for what promises to be an unforgettable Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Leclerc shared his insights on the day’s challenges and the team’s performance, acknowledging the restricted mileage in FP1 and the highly productive FP2 session. His remarks were an integral part of the official Ferrari press release:
“It was a bit of a different day. With FP1 being stopped after just four laps, we didn’t get much mileage in, so we did our best to make up for it in FP2, with 90 minutes and 4 tyre compounds available to us.
“The session was productive, we put in a solid number of laps and I really enjoyed driving on this track.
“For now, we look quite competitive, but there is still a long way to go. We have a limited amount of time left to prepare for tomorrow, so we will work hard to keep this momentum.”