This season Ferrari has often rebounded from a difficult Friday to fly in qualifying. It's going to need to do the same at Paul Ricard or it risks facing another Spain-style defeat to an ominously-fast Mercedes.
At last month's Spanish Grand Prix, the usual pattern would have resulted in Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel turning a low-key Friday into a better Saturday – so much so that it seemed the combination was still Barcelona favourite even after Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes set the practice pace. But it didn't happen.
Earlier this month, in Canada, Mercedes and Hamilton looked mighty on Friday, but Ferrari turned what Vettel called "disaster" into triumph and he went on to win.