Charles Leclerc says his loss of track time in opening practice for the Singapore Grand Prix due to a car issue is no excuse for his lack of confidence through Friday’s running at Marina Bay.

Arriving in Singapore following back-to-back wins in Belgium and Italy, Ferrari driver Leclerc saw his FP1 session come to an early end due to a gearbox problem that forced him to slow on-track before coming to a stop in the pit lane.

Leclerc could only finish sixth in FP2 later in the day after his gearbox was replaced as he finished 1.2 seconds behind pace-setter Lewis Hamilton, with the Monegasque driver later saying that he felt a lack of confidence in the car all day.

“In FP1 obviously we had an issue, so I missed a few laps which are always important on a street track,” Leclerc said.

“In FP2 I just didn’t feel confidence with the car, but also with the track, so I need to work for tomorrow, try to improve the driving.

“No big deal, it happened quite many times that on the Friday I was not where I wanted to be, so I need to work and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.”

Asked if the lack of confidence was due to the FP1 issue, Leclerc said: “It definitely doesn’t help to lack laps in FP1, but it’s not an excuse.

“I believe it’s also coming from myself, simple as that. I need to work on that, and tomorrow will be better.”

With Mercedes and Red Bull both looking strong through Friday’s running, Leclerc said he expected it to be a challenge to take the fight to Ferrari’s rivals heading into the rest of the race weekend.

“They are going to be very strong, so it’s going to be difficult, but we expected that,” Leclerc said.

“So we’ll try to make the best out of it.”