Testing – Ferrari’s new signing Charles Leclerc says he’s waited a long time to get behind the wheel of a Prancing Horse as an official race driver.
Leclerc was on driving duties for the Scuderia on Wednesday, taking over the SF71H for his first day of work for the team as their full time racing driver. It was also the last day of action for the car, as it shuffles into retirement after the session ended.
Leclerc put in 135 laps of Yas Marina, equalling around 2.5 Grands Prix at the venue. The aim of the high mileage was to evaluate the 2019 prototype Pirellis, and Leclerc said he was ’emotional’ after finishing the day with the quickest time, some 0.3 seconds quicker than what Vettel managed on Tuesday, albeit on 2018 HyperSofts.
“Of course it was emotional,” commented the 21 year old Monegasque driver. “Because driving a Ferrari is special and because this was a day I had been waiting for, for so long without being sure if it would happen. I am pleased about that and with the work we did. Our entire programme was based on comparison testing between this and next year’s tyres.
For me, it was important because I also got to know the team better, although some were no strangers to me, given my time with the Ferrari Driver Academy. Over the next few weeks, I will work to be in the best possible shape and to learn from everyone in the team and my team-mate. I can’t wait for next season to start…”