Ferrari encouraged by its recent upgrades

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Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto left the Portimao circuit encouraged after the team delivered its arguably best performance at today’s Portuguese Grand Prix.

Following a series of difficult races for Ferrrari, the Scuderia put in an excellent effort to bounce back in a rather troublesome season. After ending up fourth fastest in yesterday’s qualifying session, Charles Leclerc finished in the same position that he started from, beating the likes of the Racing Point, Renault and McLaren cars that have been untouchable for the Maranello-based team in recent times. Sebastian Vettel also scored his first point since the Tuscan Grand Prix, showing great race pace following a misfortunate strategy decision in yesterday’s qualifying.

Binotto was encouraged by the outcome of the 17th Portuguese Grand Prix that saw Ferrari score 13 points in total, the third highest point collection in a race during the coronavirus-affected 2020 season.

"Overall this was quite a positive race. We scored points with both drivers, with Charles finishing in his start position, while Sebastian managed to take the last available point.

"Charles had an excellent race, very mature. We knew that the first lap would be treacherous and so it proved, not least due to the drops of rain that fell right at that moment. Once his tyres were up to temperature, he was able to make up places and get himself into the position we had been hoping for before the race, consolidating fourth place and running at a strong pace. Sebastian also found himself in difficulty at the start, losing some positions and in the end he didn’t manage to get any higher than tenth.

When asked about the huge difference between the performance of the team’s two drivers, Binotto quickly dismissed the talk of their cars not being identical.

„Seb and Charles' cars are identical, there are no doubt. I sincerely hope that Sebastian will be able to qualify better in Imola and show what he is capable of better during the race. Charles is certainly very good.”

Following today’s Portuguese Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc lies fifth in the Drivers’ Championship with 75 points, only 5 units behind Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo while Sebastian Vettel is in the 13th spot with his 18 points.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Ferrari stayed down in the sixth place, but it reduced the gap to the third-placed Racing Point to 33 points. If the Scuderia can continue to maintain its improved pace in the following races, it could join the fight for the third place that has been shaped up between Racing Point, McLaren and Renault in the second half of the season.

Binotto aims to continue to confirm the trend his team has shown since the Russian Grand Prix and hopes that the Scuderia can challenge for higher places in the fight of the constructors.

"Now we must confirm the progress seen in recent races as we go into the last part of this championship. We are still a long way back in the Constructors’ Championship but it’s possible to make up ground: this must be our target and we must do everything to achieve it,” he said.

The Lausanne-born was particularly happy to see Ferrari’s recent upgrades deliver the results that the team hoped for because the new parts have been developed to serve as a remedy for the shortcomings of the team’s troublesome 2020 F1 car, the SF1000. With the basic design of the current cars carried over to the 2021 championship, it is vital for Ferrari to understand its technical issues apart from its underpowered engine.

"Today was important. We made some changes that are development choices also in view of next year. We were waiting for the answers and they have arrived.

„We think the path is right, the direction we have taken we think is the correct one. what direction to go and we are pushing as much as possible on next year,” concluded the Swiss-Italian.