Austin’s most beautiful note came from the audience: the many fans who had already thronged the stands of the Circuit of the Americas during free practice, demonstrating how increasingly Formula 1 is being followed in the United States, where it returned a year later in absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many Ferrari flags were hoisted in the stands and many fans wore horse caps and T-shirts, underlining the long-standing passion between Maranello and America.
The day on the track saw the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow drivers complete the programme, covering a total of 85 laps. Carlos and Charles worked on the setup and began to identify the bumps that characterize the asphalt kota, especially in the first and second sectors.
FP2. In the afternoon the drivers began to run again on medium tires to check the evolution of the track, but also to continue improving the SF21 setup. The first consecutive times of reference were 1’36” 464 for Monaco and 1’36” 326 for the Spaniard. Halfway through the session, they both switched to Soft Composite for the qualifying simulation in which they achieved the best results: 1’35” 572 for Charles and 1’35” 919 for Carlos, the latter being penalized for traffic past the sector. The two shared the task at simulating the pace of the race: Charles rode with the moderators, and Carlos rode with Soft.
Tonight the last free training is scheduled at 13 (20 CET), while qualification will start at 16 (23 Italy). The US Grand Prix will start on Sunday at 2 pm (21 Italy).
Charles Leclerc #16
“It’s great to be back in the States! The atmosphere here is always so special, both on the track and in Austin, in the heart of the city. Everyone is so friendly and passionate, and I was pleased to see so many fans already in the stands, many of whom are our supporters with the flags their Ferrari.
As for work, we completed the planned program, tried different solutions. The most challenging aspect is the bumps which make the track particularly treacherous.
With the high temperatures we are seeing, tire management has become a major factor, as they tend to overheat, especially in the third sector. This is why we need to find the right compromise between pushing hard in the first section, pushing duty in the last section, saving the tires at the start to make them fresher and being able to force them on the last lap. In tomorrow’s third free practice session, we still have to work to find the best balance before qualifying.”
Carlos Sainz #55
“How nice to be in Austin again! The track is great as always, and it was from the very first moment. It is a very beautiful and fun circuit to drive. The asphalt has gotten more rugged over the years, but I think this is now a feature of the track and a challenge for both cars and drivers.
We tried different settings and it improved a bit from the first session to the second session. Overall I’m happy, the pace is promising considering I found traffic in Sector 3 on the fastest lap and couldn’t complete a course that would have been very good otherwise.
The temperatures on the track were very high, which had an obvious long-term effect, as the degradation of the soft compound appeared quickly. This can make things difficult on Sunday, so it’s a factor to take into account.”
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