Charles Leclerc has hinted Ferrari will opt against using the slipstream tow during qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix in order to not “sacrifice any car for the good of the other car”.

Off the back of his maiden Formula 1 race win, Leclerc swept Friday practice in mixed conditions at Monza by topping both sessions for Ferrari at its home round.

Despite warning about the “very quick” Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton ending FP2 just 0.068s behind in second place on the timesheet, Leclerc remains optimistic Ferrari can extract further performance from his car ahead of qualifying and the race in Monza. Both Leclerc and Vettel used Ferrari’s upgraded engine for the first time today after seeing both customer Ferrari squad Alfa Romeo and Haas debut it last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

F1 teams are weighing up the benefit of using its two cars to provide a slipstream tow for the car following its teammate, with Leclerc expected to potentially benefit at Ferrari after Sebastian Vettel gained priority at the last round.

Leclerc says he isn’t sure if Ferrari will opt for the towing tactic, despite top speed being critical on Monza’s long straights, but warned against the idea if it damages the chances of the sister car.

“I need to speak with the team on what is going to happen but I don’t think we will sacrifice any car for the good of the other car,” Leclerc said. “I think we will try to do the best team job possible and see what happens.

“I am not completely sure we have the advantage because Mercedes are very, very quick especially in FP2 as they did the times in more difficult conditions as there was some rain when they did their lap times. I expect them to be very strong tomorrow.

“I think on race pace we are not as fast as we were in Spa and on qualifying pace we are a bit slower than where we were in Spa. So we need to understand that and try to do a good job tomorrow.”

Vettel also remained tight-lipped about the prospect of Ferrari using the tow in qualifying tomorrow but accepts the benefits for the car gaining from the slipstream effect will be clear.

“We will see about the conditions, we will see about the tyres, how careful we need to be on the out lap, looking after the tyres and then go from there,” Vettel said. “It’s nice if you get a tow, not so nice if you don’t, but that’s how it is around here.”

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