Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto admits that the SF90 doesn’t fit to the characteristics of the Albert Park circuit after both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc failed to beat rivals Mercedes AMG.
Both Vettel and Leclerc couldn’t match the pace of both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, with Vettel reaching third place whilst Leclerc could only settle for fifth.
Ferrari lost out in the battle with Mercedes for the first pole position of the season, with Vettel 0.7s short from Hamilton’s record-breaking pole time of a 1:20.486. Leclerc struggled to put together a clean lap in during the final qualifying session, allowing Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen to pip ahead of Leclerc for fourth place.
Ferrari’s boss Binotto reflects on the team’s qualifying result saying that it’s not the result the team were looking for but aware that their car isn’t matched with the characteristics of the Melbourne street circuit.
“We can’t say this was the result we were expecting, but we are well aware that Albert Park is not an ideal track for us, as its characteristics do not suit our car that well,” said Binotto.
“Of course, we must improve, but we have gathered a great deal of information to identify the areas on which we must work.”
The Italian team looked favourites ahead of the first race of the season following a strong winter testing, but the pace from Mercedes has proven to be a challenge for Ferrari to replicate or beat over the weekend.
Hamilton was quickest in all free practice session leading into qualifying, but both Ferrari drivers were within tenths of reigning champion’s times, hoping to eventually make the jump in qualifying.
But despite losing the first pole position to their rivals, Binotto says that the season is a ‘long game’ and the team is ready to play the challenge that lies ahead.
“As usual, Seb showed that he knows how to use every centimetre of the track and Charles got through his first real test, a few little errors notwithstanding.
“Ahead of us, we have another 20 qualifying sessions and 21 races, so it’s a long game and we’re ready to play it.”