Charles Leclerc admits that he's surprised by the pace that Red Bull displayed during the opening day of running in China.
Max Verstappen ended the session third place, two-tenths down on Valtteri Bottas who topped the session for Mercedes. Pierre Gasly seemingly continued to struggle, finishing the day in 10th, over one second off the pace.
Red Bull picked up a podium finish in Australia, but struggled to produce the raw speed that Ferrari and Mercedes displayed last time out in Bahrain.
On the build-up to the weekend in China, Leclerc's teammate Sebastian Vettel stated that he expected Red Bull to be closer to the front than where it was in Bahrain.
“Mercedes and Red Bull, everyone is pretty close here,” said Leclerc. “We definitely did not expect Red Bull to be so close but it’s a good surprise. At least there will be some fight on the track and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Ferrari 'are there' with performance
Leclerc's session ended early on Friday afternoon in Shanghai, as Ferrari was forced to inspect his power unit. However, Leclerc was nonetheless pleased with his day.
"We just wanted to do some further check on the oil,” he said of the issues. “We are not completely sure what happened there.
"In terms of performance I think we are there. In FP2 I didn’t have a clean lap so [it’s] pointless to look at performance but overall I’m really happy with the car. Still some work to do on the balance here and there but should be good for tomorrow.”
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