Ferrari reveal they won't introduce any more major updates in 2019

Ferrari reveal they won't introduce any more major updates in 2019

"We are just not fast enough because we are lacking the straight line speed and we don't have enough to make it up through the corners".

It's track surface is also unusual, in that it's very smooth.

During the 90 minutes of the morning session, Charles and Sebastian did 40 laps in total, 20 each. And that means more heat. "At the last three races, we haven't extracted 100%". But it is tricky to set up the vehicle, because the first and second sectors are quick and once you arrive in the third sector, the tyres are not in the best shape anymore.

The only shame is that Red Bull is unlikely to be a part of the fight.

"It's a track where the rears are struggling a little bit in the last sector, so you need to maybe compromise a little bit more the first sector to be better in the third sector".

And with Verstappen to serve a five-place grid penalty following changes to his engine, Ferrari, and Leclerc in particular, looked well-placed to win for a fourth time in as many races.

"There is still quite a lot of lap time to be gained on our side", Leclerc said. But the Mercedes team principal, still scarred by Hamilton's toxic rivalry with Rosberg, has already moved to re-sign Bottas for at least another year.

And then there was Mercedes, rolling in third in the pecking order.

The ultra-smooth Sochi circuit was expected to favour Mercedes more but the championship-leading team appeared to struggle to extract performance from the softest-compound Pirellis on Friday.

There have been suggestions Mercedes could look to maintain their monopoly by bringing Verstappen into their garage at the expense of Bottas. "I think we might have a better chance in qualifying".

It was a generally uneventful session, although Daniel Ricciardo spun and crashed at Turn 10 at the very end. Anyway, we have the tyres for whatever the situation might be.

But he was coy when asked whether he might want to link up with Hamilton after his time with Red Bull.

When our data analysts crunched the numbers, Mercedes emerged on top in the long run stakes, the Silver Arrows holding a 0.3s/lap advantage over Ferrari.

Red Bull have yet to confirm who they will put alongside the Dutchman in 2020.

British teenager Lando Norris finished 11th, four tenths and six places clear of McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz.

"We've been fast, and competitive on the high-fuel runs, so in general I am quite happy".

Defending five-time champion Hamilton should have every reason to feel confident - he has won three times at the former Olympic Park venue, including past year, and Mercedes have won every contest since 2014.

But Ferrari's Prancing Horse is certainly at the races.

"It's up to them [Red Bull's hierarchy]".

Hamilton has said he would welcome Verstappen joining him at Mercedes.

The scene, then, is perfectly poised for the rest of the weekend.

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