Leclerc praises upgrade package, but warns of high expectations

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Having topped both practice sessions in Imola, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc warned of setting the expectations too high for the remainder of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Ferrari arrived with a significant upgrade package for its first home race in 2024, bolting a host of new parts on the SF-24. The Maranello-based team, therefore, focussed on evaluating the update package on the heavily-modified SF-24 which features significant tweaks to the floor, engine cover, sidepod inlets, rear and front wing.

Reflecting back on how the day had gone, the Monegasque commented: “For now, everything went quite smoothly. The feeling with the car is quite good, the upgrades on the car are working as expected which also is a good step.

"And yeah, it’s been a very smooth day so it is great, and being at home is always a special feeling for Ferrari, being here and having so much support all over the track means so much for all of us.

Despite the encouraging pace in the early part of the weekend, Leclerc warned of track conditions which are expected to change massively for Saturday.

“It will be great if the weekend continues in that direction. However, tomorrow the conditions will change massively. The wind will completely turn around, which will have a big effect on all the cars, and there we have to be the best at anticipating those changes.”

"The updates seem to be working as expected, which is another positive. It was great to see so many red flags in the grandstands!"

On the other side of the garage, Carlos Sainz also voiced a positive note after two smooth Friday practice sessions. The Mardid-born driver finished the first one-hour session in third, but slipped down into P6 in the second practice.

"A good Friday for the team. We had a strong FP1 and in FP2 we made some changes that seem to go in the right direction and I was reasonably happy with the car. I didn't put together a clean lap with the Soft but I’m confident we are in a good place.

"After two Sprint weekends it was good to have time to test and try different approaches on the car, especially having a new package here. There's still a bit of work to do before qualifying but I’m already looking forward to tomorrow," the Spaniard said.