The joy of Singapore – with the splendid victory achieved with talent and intelligence by Carlos Sainz – remains in memory, but now it’s time for Ferrari to turn the page and focus on the challenge at Suzuka. The Prancing Horse team had an interesting Friday on the Japanese track. Certainly, there were no more flashes of Marina Bay when the red cars had begun to assert their dominance right from the very first free practice session, but the initial signs have still looked positive.
In both the morning and afternoon sessions in Japan, Ferrari placed one of its cars in second position. In FP1, it was Carlos Sainz who stopped just behind the resurgent Max Verstappen, albeit six-tenths adrift, while in the second session, the gap narrowed, and Charles Leclerc clocked the second-best time, still trailing Verstappen, but this time by three-tenths. In the second free practice session, Carlos Sainz, on the other hand, was fourth, just behind his friend Lando Norris.
Words from Fred Vasseur
Frederic Vasseur, speaking to Sky Sport F1, expressed satisfaction with the work done by his team on this first day but cautioned everyone about the need to stay grounded: “So far, everything has gone well,” commented the French manager. “We had a good test with the soft tires, and now we need to think about the race distance, even though qualifying will still be important.” – the French manager pointed out.
“We shouldn’t get carried away with optimism,” warned the Scuderia Ferrari team principal, “because it’s still only Friday, but we are seeing some good improvements. It’s hard to provide clear indications because Max Verstappen did a lap like everyone else, and then there was an evolution and improvement in the track, but we’ll see.” – Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur concluded at the end of the second free practice session for the 2023 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzula circuit.