Their challenger, slow through the corners, has tended to struggle at twisting tracks like the Hungaroring. Indeed, Sebastian Vettel has not celebrated a victory since beating Hamilton to the chequered flag at this very venue 12 months ago.
It was his third pole of the season after successes in Bahrain and Austria, but he goes into the race seeking to claim his maiden victory, having been left frustrated at both previous races.
Leclerc was fasted in all three qualifying sessions on Saturday, after he and Vettel had also recorded a one-two in each of the practice sessions to underline Ferrari's credentials throughout the race weekend in Belgium.
"But that's what you need to do". We knew it was coming up. "If we're quick in the race, that could be good".
"Everyone is running really low downforce, so I think the next step we can do is take the wing off - but I don't think that is really smart".
Vettel was speaking on Thursday, before his team's practice dominance.
Mercedes stepped in as title sponsor for the Hockenheim race this season but no agreement could be found for next year.
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas locked up the second row in the Belgian Grand Prix
The championship leader was sixth fastest, behind his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull driver Alexander Albon.
The Finn, confirmed as Hamilton's team-mate for next year, led the Briton in Friday's practice. "We know what the auto is capable of and we've seen what Max has been able to do this year".
"I'm in the wall guys", said Hamilton.
"Ferrari have done a great job and I hope we can bring the fight to them". Vettel was refusing to get carried away with one strong day and said it would be foolish to write off Mercedes.
F1 had never gone above the current high of 21 races and the schedule requires seven back-to-back race weekends although there is no repeat of the 2018 France-Austria-Britain triple header. There are still races to win, areas that I want to improve on and areas that I don't want to drop. "I don't know", said Verstappen when asked about his prospects.
"We're trying to find every bit of performance we can for tomorrow". It's not the first time that Ferrari looked good for us.
"Uhh, messy!" said the four-times champion, summing up his session. Much of the speculation surrounds Bottas and his future at Mercedes and at Renault, who must decide whether they keep Nico Hulkenberg in the team.
Gasly, who was spending his first weekend back at Toro Rosso since being demoted from Red Bull in August, admitted the circumstances of his career were far from the forefront of his mind as he climbed into the vehicle.
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