Ferrari leaves Hungary disappointed despite improvements

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Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto has conceded that Ferrari’s sixth- and eleventh-place finishes in the Hungarian Grand Prix have left the entire team disappointed, but he has promised that the Scuderia will try to regroup for the fourth round of the delayed 2020 season.

After its disappointing start to the season at the opening two rounds of the championship, Ferrari endured another difficult race at the Hungaroring. While Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc qualified fifth and sixth for today’s 70-lap grand prix, both driver slipped down the order in the race.

Despite gaining place with excellent getaways at the start, neither Vettel nor Leclerc were able to keep up with the pace of the leading drivers on the initially damp track on intermediate tyres. However, the Scuderia reacted well and quickly to the drying track by bringing its drivers to the pits for sick tyres, Vettel lost over six seconds while staying stationary in front of Ferrari’s garage, waiting for rival to pass by to avoid an unsafe release.

Leclerc’s tyre change was perfect, but Ferrari opted for the slick tyres for the Monégasque which turned out to be a race-deciding mistake as Pirelli’s C4 compounds showed severe degradation just as in the opening free practice session on Friday. In the end, Leclerc finished the race in the 11th place while Sebastian Vettel salvaged his afternoon with a sixth-place finish.

Mattia Binotto said that the results are very hard to accept for Ferrari." An extremely disappointing Sunday and the result is very hard to swallow. In qualifying, we had got the most out of the car as it is at the moment, but in the race that was not the case. To be lapped is very painful for us and our fans.”

Ferrari has introduced upgrades for the Styrian Grand Prix, including a new front wing and a modified floor. After failing to assess the performance of the new parts due to torrential rain and a race-ending crash at the second round of the season, the team will now analyse the data it has gathered over the last days and will do its utmost to come back stronger at Silverstone.

„Now we return home after this very long trip, and we have to try everything we can to improve as much as possible in every area. Everyone will have to analyse their work and have the courage to change course if necessary, because the current dynamic is unacceptable. There is no other solution to fix this situation,” Binotto said.

The quadruple world champion achieved his best result this season, but he was far from delighted as he thought that more was on the table today with a better strategy.

"This was a better performance compared to my first race in Austra. However, in the early stages we might have done a bit better if I’d taken more of a gamble and come in for dry tyres on lap 3 instead of 4. As it was, I lost a lot of time, having to let other cars come down pit lane before I could be released. But in the end, fifth or sixth was the most we could have done.

„Towards the end, I was struggling with the tyres and even if I had loved to have put up more of a fight, there wasn’t much I could do to keep Alex (Albon) behind me. We are not where we want to be just now, but at least we did everything we could today,” he concluded.

The Monégasque was dogged by the strategy decision that saw him change from the intermediate tyres to the softs. However, he indicated that there was more behind his dismal performance today as he lost the confidence that he had in the car on Friday and on Saturday.

"It was a very complicated race. I’m not sure what happened, because we didn’t make changes to the car, but it was extremely hard to drive, as the balance was so much worse than Friday and Saturday, when it was actually better than expected. It just didn’t feel like the same car.

„We need to look further into that to try and understand, as I was struggling a lot. We stopped for Softs a bit earlier than others and maybe it was a bit too optimistic. But it was a good call and I managed a few quick laps, but there was only one dry line so I could not overtake and, with hindsight the Soft was not the best choice. After that we were just slow. There’s lot of work ahead of us,” Leclerc added.