Leclerc ended both practice sessions inside the top four in Baku, although he didn’t have it all his own way after clattering the barriers at Turn 15 midway through FP2.

Even though he was within a couple of tenths of Red Bull in the afternoon session, Leclerc doubts he will be able to maintain his challenge into qualifying on Saturday,

“McLaren are very, very quick, but they haven’t showed it for some reason today,” Leclerc said. “Maybe it was less of a clean day compared to us, but I feel that they are still a bit ahead of us here, so we’ll have to wait and see tomorrow.

“Definitely Red Bull and Mercedes – I don’t really know what happened with them, but I’m pretty sure they will be in front, and it will be basically a fight with McLaren, that are our main competitors, so we need to make sure we do everything perfect because they are doing very few mistakes this year.

“So we are going to try and maximise our potential and hopefully we can be ahead of them tomorrow in quali.”

Explaining his crash in FP2, Leclerc added: “I actually felt quite comfortable in the car today, especially on braking. Maybe a bit too comfortable and pushed a little bit too much into Turn 15. But in the end, that’s what it’s for, the free practice. I’ve been trying a little bit the limits, I was on a good lap on that one. And let’s see tomorrow.”

Carlos Sainz fared slightly better than Leclerc in the afternoon session, a tenth shy of Sergio Perez’s benchmark time.

While he was happy with Ferrari’s performance over one lap, Sainz admits it has work to do when it comes to the race runs.

“It is graining a lot,” Sainz explained. “Red Bull did particularly a strong long run, which showed us that they probably have something more to come tomorrow, while we were decent on the short run, but then on the long run, I think we still need to analyse how we can get those rear tyres to work a bit better in the window.”