Charles Leclerc reveals Ferrari’s run wasn’t affected by drain cover damage

Charles Leclerc reveals Ferrari's run wasn't affected by drain cover damage

Charles Leclerc has maintained that Ferrari’s run at the Bahrain pre-season testing wasn’t affected by the damage sustained to his car after running over a loose drain cover

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was driving the SF-24 on the second day of Bahrain pre-season testing when an incident involving a faulty drain cover ended the session early.

Leclerc revealed that his floor suffered damage as a result of hitting a loose drain cover despite the Scuderia dominating the proceedings. This comes after he ran wide over the kerbs at Turn 11 and the metallic drainage component came loose as Ferrari confirmed later that Leclerc’s car required to be fitted with a new floor.

The morning session of the second day of Bahrain pre-season testing ended with just over an hour remaining on the clock as the incident prompted an extensive check of the drain covers around the track.

This was Ferrari’s second incident of this kind following Carlos Sainz’s severe car damage after he ran over a water valve cover during practice at the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix last year.

Leclerc told F1TV that he was unaware of the imminent danger, which left a “hole in the floor,” but fortunately not a large one, given that he had easily prevailed in setting the morning time benchmark.

“It wasn’t huge. There was a bit of a hole in the floor, which we had to change,” he said. “I had no warning. I saw something, but honestly it was so thin that I thought it was a plastic thing.

“We see sometimes some of them around the track and we just go on them and nothing is happening, but this time obviously it was metal, so it hurt the car a little bit more.”

Leclerc also noted Ferrari was still able to successfully complete its test program despite the incident.

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“We’ve found all the answers yes, because in the end, we went through all of our programme which is a good thing,” he said. “We’ve done big changes on the car, that’s what we were focusing on for these first two days.

“On Friday we’ll go and fine-tune the car and go into the details but the first few days went well for now.”

The Monesgaque handed the car over to his teammate Carlos Sainz after completing 54 laps which included the fastest lap of the session. He also made a brief appearance at the beginning of the afternoon session, and Sainz eventually pushed the car to its full potential, setting a new Bahrain testing benchmark with a 1:29.921.

The lap time eclipsed the previous record set by Max Verstappen by a second and a half, although he was running on the softer C4 tyres.

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