Ferrari leave Barcelona frustrated despite latest upgrade package

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Ferrari managed to bounce back from a very difficult Canadian Grand Prix where they failed to score a single point. However, the Scuderia expected more from their car that has been just upgraded for the Barcelona round.

Charles Leclerc started from P5, and ended the race in P5, albeit it was a rather eventful afternoon for the Monegasque. Ferrari executed an offset strategy with Leclerc which meant that he dropped down the order after both his first and second pit stop.

However, his fresher tyres meant on both occasions that he could close the gap to his rivals. On the last lap, he could completely close in on Mercedes driver George Russell, but he would have needed one more lap to attempt an overtaking manoeuvre.

"It was tight today and we were just a lap short of fighting for P4, but our competitors were still ahead in terms of pace. Regarding our strategy, I think we did well to offset ourselves from the cars around us.

"We maybe lost some time between our two cars at the beginning of the race, but going forward we will focus on our race pace extracting the maximum from our package at the next race," said Leclerc.

His team-mate Carlos Sainz set the sixth-quickest lap in qualifying, and the Spaniard came home exactly in the same position in front of his adoring fans.

The Madrid-born driver executed a very different strategy to Leclerc as he pitted earlier on both occasions, and he went for Pirelli's hard tyres for his last stint.

"It was a difficult race but we gave it our best. Stopping early and finishing the race on the Hard tyre didn’t turn out to be the optimal strategy today, but we only know this with hindsight after the chequered flag.

"In any case, we were lacking a bit of pace this weekend in general and we need to work to improve for next weekend in Austria.

"A massive thank you goes to every single fan that came to the track today and also to those who followed and supported us from home. A home race for a driver is always special and Barcelona is no exception for me."

Team boss Fred Vasseur said that the key lesson from the Barcelona round was that the Scuderia needs to perform better in qualifying so that they do not need to take risks with the strategy.

"We started five and six and ended five and six and the conclusion I draw from this is that we must do a better job in qualifying. We need to make a small step forward so that we don’t start behind, as this pushes you into taking risks with the strategy.

"Yesterday the gap to those in front was about two tenths, today it was similar and if you look at it over the race distance then that was still the same gap.

"As for the contact between our drivers, it was very light and I don’t think it cost us anything. What cost us more is that after our stops, we came out behind some cars, it was very tight and we lost two or three seconds.

"With Carlos we wanted to cover Russell, which is why we had to go Medium-Hard as we pitted earlier. With Charles the plan was to extend the stint to go a bit longer which is why we were able to try the Softs," concluded the Frenchman.

"With such small gaps between the teams, everything can change: there are four teams in two to two and a half tenths so from track to track the pecking order can change. Next week we race in Austria where we will have another Sprint and I expect the track layout there will suit us better."