Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc fastest in first practice for Bahrain Grand Prix


MARANELLO, Italy (AP) - Mick Schumacher will move closer to emulating his father when he drives a Ferrari Formula One auto in an official test next week.

"I will do everything to keep my first place", a determined Leclerc said, before adding cautiously.

However, Verstappen has revealed details of some of the issues the team had, which means that he has contrasting emotions heading into the race on Sunday.

"It's obviously very early in the season, it's one race, but I can for sure say that something in my mindset has changed for the year", he told a media conference on Thursday.

"We expected more. On my side I made quite a lot of mistakes in qualifying", Leclerc said.

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Bottas won in Australia ahead of Hamilton, where Vettel finished fourth and Leclerc fifth. This will be Schumacher's first real outing on a Formula 1 circuit after he signed with Ferrari Driver Academy back in January.

Bottas says his attitude has changed for the campaign, while also joking his new facial hair could be behind his winning start.

"We were all positively surprised on the performance we had in Melbourne is a bit of a amusing circuit", said the Finn.

"No doubt, Charles is allowed to go as fast as he can, he is allowed to try to go for pole, he is allowed to try to stay ahead and we are not stopping him doing that", Binotto said.

Ferrari had widely been considered to hold an advantage heading to Australia, and Hamilton insisted after qualifying Mercedes "truly believed" it was behind, while Bottas claimed nobody in the team "could have imagined we would be in this position".

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And come next week, we'll see them together again.

Hamilton, who came home second in a damaged auto behind in-form team-mate Valtteri Bottas, said he was delighted, but surprised by Mercedes' comprehensive maximum points showing in Melbourne.

Current Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc is the first FDA graduate to have been promoted to the Maranello team.

They are Formula One's oldest and most successful team and enjoy special privileges and financial benefits as a result of their historic status.

Qualifying is split into three sections, with five drivers eliminated from Q1 and Q2 to leave 10 fighting for pole in Q3. "We are going into tomorrow thinking we have a auto that can fight for the race win".

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