Max Verstappen and Perez lead in Saudi Arabia Free Practice
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 413
The Red Bull Racing drivers continued where they left off in Bahrain, setting the pace in the first free practice session ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen led the pack with a fastest lap time of 1:29.617, followed by teammate Sergio Perez at +0.483 behind.
The Aston Martin drivers, Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, came in next with a gap of +0.698 and +0.960, respectively. Meanwhile, Mercedes' George Russell and Lewis Hamilton took the fifth and sixth spots, respectively, with Carlos Sainz of Ferrari coming in seventh.
Leclerc denies rumors of a crisis at Ferrari
Ferrari has been the subject of many rumors lately, including those about the team's supposed crisis. However, driver Charles Leclerc denied these rumors and dismissed claims that he had met with the manufacturer's president.
“This is absolutely untrue,” Leclerc said, as quoted by crash.net. “There have been loads of rumours around the team. For once, 90 percent of them were completely unfounded."
Leclerc and the Ferrari team
Despite the rumors, Leclerc remains committed to the Ferrari team and their goals for the season. “We all need to push in the same direction as I said this is the most important,” he said.
Leclerc retired from the Bahrain Grand Prix due to an electrical issue, but he is optimistic about the team's future. He believes that Ferrari is often the target of undue criticism when things don't go their way. "When it’s Ferrari who doesn’t go as well as it should then there’s lots of voices and all of these things around the team, but we need to be good at spending our energy right inside the team, pushing in the right direction and making a difference and come back stronger”.
Leclerc and the rumors of a move to Mercedes
Leclerc has also been linked to a possible move to Mercedes, but he insists that his plans for now are to stay with Ferrari. “Honestly I obviously saw these rumours and then went to Maranello.
At first I was like I’m not sure how the team will react to it’," he said. "But then we’ve had a meeting with the whole team, with all the Ferrari employees. I was really surprised. Everyone is fully on it and fully positive, which is great." Leclerc is confident that Ferrari can bounce back and achieve their goals for the season, and he remains fully committed to the team's cause.