Ferrari’s hopes hang on upgrades as Charles Leclerc podium masks woes

Charles Leclerc spared Ferrari’s blushes by pulling the disappointing SF1000 from seventh to an unlikely second place at the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend.

It was a stunning drive from the Monaco man. His pace and determination late on once again confirmed just how impressive he can be in pressure situations.

It was a champion’s drive for the man effectively anointed as the Scuderia’s best hope of winning a first world title since 2007.

However, for all the praise, the SF1000 is far from podium material.

Austria will simply be a weekend the Prancing Horse will want to forget, spending much of it battling against the Racing Points and McLarens, rather than the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

Expectations in the Ferrari camp were not high heading into the season-opener and those fears were realised when Leclerc and Vettel placed a disastrous P7 and P11 respectively in qualifying.

They were just the fifth-fastest team in qualifying and the car was nearly a full second slower than they had been around Austria last year, when Leclerc clinched pole position.

The Scuderia were Mercedes’ main challengers last season, with their prime asset being qualifying speed and engine power. They secured nine pole positions out of 21.

Now, they seem to have slipped further behind the Silver Arrow.

There is no magic formula to fix quick problems in F1 and Ferrari must use these next few races to monitor various adjustments and upgrades accurately.

Leclerc admitted the car was better through corners but had some drag. Vettel, meanwhile, said the car lacked grip and downforce down the straights.

The problem, though, is not only with the car’s aerodynamics. Team boss Mattia Binotto insisted after the race that they were losing “0.3secs in cornering and 0.7secs power-limited on the straights”.

To hone in even further,

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ONE: Eduard Folayang takes on Christian Lee’s challenge

FILE — Team Lakay fighter Eduard Folayang. INQUIRER PHOTO/TRISTAN TAMAYO

MANILA, Philippines — Focused on regaining the ONE lightweight world title, Eduard Folayang won’t back down from any challenge especially if it’s from the division’s champion in Christian Lee.

Folayang said he is more than willing to fight Lee and contend for the belt anew.

“It would be an honor for me, and of course it will be a different challenge,” the Team Lakay legend said.

Lee, the former featherweight contender, has only fought twice so far since moving up to lightweight.

The Singaporean star, though, needed only two fights to show he has what it takes to rule the lightweight class.

The 22-year-old Lee made a rousing lightweight debut when he stunned Japanese legend Shinya Aoki via second-round stoppage to win the strap in May of last year.

He then followed it up with a unanimous decision win over Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev in the Lightweight World Grand Prix Final last October.

“I am very impressed with his improvements,” Folayang said. “I saw his growth as an athlete.”

The 36-year-old Folayang, who has lost three of his last four fights, will have to climb the lightweight ladder first before getting a shot at Lee.

“It’s going to be a very challenging match if I face Christian Lee. I know I am still far from a world title match, but in the future, I look forward to facing him,” Folayang said.

“It will be a big challenge for me if we face each other. I want to face him, and I hope he remains the champ by then.”

Lee is set to defend his title against Iuri Lapicus sometime in the future.


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WATCH: Richard Gutierrez joins ‘Ang Probinsyano’

Image: Instagram/@richardgutz

Richard Gutierrez has joined the cast of “Ang Probinsyano,” adding to the roster of seasoned actors who have appeared in the show.

The actor spoke about his role in the action-drama series during a talk with its producer, Dreamscape, which was posted on Instagram last Saturday, July 4.

“Ang character ko dito ay si Angelito. Lumaki na maraming paghihirap na pinagdaanan (My character is Angelito. [He] grew up while facing many hardships),” Gutierrez said.

He also noted that the only person who makes his character happy is Alyana (Yassi Pressman), the wife of the story’s main character, Cardo (Coco Martin).

Along with his new role, this is the first project that Gutierrez and Martin will be working on together. The first episode featuring Gutierrez aired yesterday, July 6.

Prior to appearing in “Ang Probinsyano,” Gutierrez starred in the 2017 TV series “La Luna Sangre” and last year’s drama film “Unbreakable,” which also featured Bea Alonzo and Angelica Panganiban.  /ra

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