Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc qualified third and fifth respectively for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday, with Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto admitting the Qualifying session was difficult for the whole team.
Neither Ferrari driver was able to get onto the front row, which will be a fourth lock-out for the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport team in five races, with Leclerc’s chances of threatening for a spot amongst the top four hindered by damage to his bargeboard, which came as a result of running wide at turn nine.
Binotto admits that Ferrari has been enduring a difficult weekend to date at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton both out of reach so far of Vettel and Leclerc, while Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen split the duo on Saturday afternoon.
“It was a difficult qualifying session, as indeed has been the whole weekend so far,” said Binotto. “In Charles’ case, matters were further complicated when his car was damaged in Q2.
“We repaired it as best we could, but it still compromised his Q3 performance, as he had to attempt two timed laps on a single set of tyres.”
Binotto says the pace deficit to Mercedes has shown just where the weaknesses are on the SF90H, and he knows it will be up to them to overcome these issues and come back stronger in the upcoming races.
He also believes Sunday’s race should see a stronger performance from both Vettel and Leclerc compared to Qualifying.
“This weekend has highlighted the weak points on our car,” admitted Binotto. “We will carry out all the necessary analysis, also after the race, to get a complete picture of where we are struggling.
“Days like this can show you how to improve and I am sure it will see us perform better tomorrow.”