Following a difficult race weekend at Barcelona, Ferrari Managing Director and Team Principal Mattia Binotto hailed his drivers, Charles Leclerc’s and Sebastian Vettel’s performance.
Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, Ferrari had doubts whether they were able to solve the problems they had with their SF1000 at Barcelona during pre-season testing. Since the end of February, the Scuderia has introduced several upgrades to its car, and the results in Friday practices indicated that the SF1000 has indeed improved its late-winter form.
However, Saturday delivered a disappointing result for the Maranello-based team with its quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel failing to get himself through to Q3 and Charles Leclerc unable to qualify better then ninth. In today’s race, the team based its strategy around a single pit stop, using their knowledge from the previous weekend at Silverstone where Charles Leclerc produced fantastic tyre management.
A late pit stop meant that Leclerc and Vettel slipped down the order, but with others still needing to visit the pit lane to take fresh boots, the Monegasque could have easily been in contention for fourth place. An electric problem prevented the two-time race winner to show his true pace in the second half of the race.
Mattia Binotto left the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya disappointed as he thinks his team did not squeeze everything out of the car this weekend. He said: "A very disappointing weekend, not just because of the result, but also because of the way we managed it. In qualifying yesterday, we didn’t make the most of the potential at our disposal and we know how important grid position is on this track where overtaking is so difficult.
"Despite that, in the race we had a genuine chance of fighting for fourth place with Charles, but a reliability problem put him out of the running. A malfunction in an electronic control unit resulted in his car shutting down, causing him to spin, effectively ending his race.
After starting from 11th on the grid, Vettel climbed up the order to 5th only to lose then two spots on his 36-lap old soft tyres. In the end, the German crossed the line 7th to increase his point tally by four points.
"Sebastian moved up the order well, showing great tenacity and driving very cleanly: doing a 36 lap stint on used Soft tyres is quite something. The same observation goes for him as well as for Charles: starting further up the grid he could have aspired to do better than seventh.
"We have dropped out of third spot in the Constructors’ classification, even if by just a few points. We must always get all the potential out of our car if we want to achieve this goal and we must continue to work hard to close the gap to those who today were out of reach for us, namely the only three cars that completed all the laps of this Grand Prix,” Binotto concluded.