After finishing a promising third and just 0.476s off the pace of Lewis Hamilton in FP1, Leclerc improved to P2 in the second session with a time that was just 0.166s shy of being the fastest time of the day as the Mercedes driver completed a practice sweep. 

Despite being boosted by Ferrari’s upgraded engine, Leclerc remains wary of his team’s prospects after finding himself in similarly encouraging positions before on Fridays this season, only to fall away in qualifying and the race. 

“The feeling has been good all day but again we shouldn’t get carried away because I feel like the top teams have more to show,” Leclerc said. 

“Also on high fuel it’s been looking good, so everything looks positive for now. But again it’s only a Friday, so for now I want to keep my head down, keep working as hard as I can to try and fine-tune the car to have a perfect qualifying tomorrow.”

The Ferrari looked tricky at times, forcing Leclerc to correct several slides throughout practice, but the Monegasque said he is comfortable with how his car handles. 

“I feel quite happy with that, whenever the rear is moving like that I am quite at ease with it and I like to play with the rear of the car to rotate the car, and it seems to work pretty good for now,” he explained. 

“We are very competitive, so I wouldn’t change that much on that side, but I think on the race run we still have a bit of work to do.”

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Leclerc's teammate Carlos Sainz is braced for a back-of-the-grid start for Sunday's race at Istanbul after moving onto Ferrari's upgraded PU.

Asked how much his grid demotion has changed his approach going into the weekend, Sainz replied: "Completely!

"I did just a couple of laps trying to learn the car in lower fuel just to get some reference but 99 per cent of the session was done in higher fuel load, trying to see the degradation of the tyres, trying different set-ups, also trying to help the team to understand the problems we have with the front tyres.

"It’s a front limited track, quite front limited, with Turn 8 and all the other corners that make it very understeery, and we are having to experiment to see if we can solve the issues that we normally have. And I’m using the weekend as experimental also for myself."

And Sainz admitted he is left feeling "a bit down" about taking a grid drop having seen Leclerc demonstrate pace that he feels could put Ferrari in podium contention. 

"Now I see where Charles is in the low fuel runs and then you see he could be fighting for a podium, so that makes me regret a bit that I’m not going to be there on Saturday to fight for it," he said. 

"And also on Sunday, [I won't be there] to fight for it, unless I do a huge comeback, which is quite unlikely. This just makes me feel a bit down, because I which I could be there with him fighting for higher places, looking at where the pace of the car is this weekend."