Mattia Binotto says Scuderia Ferrari’s performance during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend did not live up to their expectations as they once again played second fiddle to the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport team in the sessions that mattered.
Ferrari had been the quickest of everyone during all three free practice sessions at the Baku City Circuit but neither Sebastian Vettel nor Charles Leclerc were able to get onto the front row, with the latter crashing out of Qualifying all together midway through Q2 that saw him unable to compete in Q3.
On race, Vettel could only finish third and Leclerc fifth, with Mercedes taking the two top spots on the podium, Valtteri Bottas ahead of Lewis Hamilton, to extend their advantage at the head of both championships.
Binotto, the team principal of Ferrari, admitted that failing to get their cars to the front of the grid on Saturday cost them on race day, and it meant another below-par result for the team.
“Our performance did not live up to our expectations,” said Binotto. “Qualifying had not gone the way we would have wanted and, on this track, grid positions make a big difference, as starting further back makes everything more difficult.
“In the race, there were no Safety Car periods to take advantage of, which might have played into our hands against our rivals. Sebastian produced a solid performance, always close to the two leaders and he fully deserved to finish on the podium.
“Charles ran a great race, moving up the order, after losing a few places at the start, because it was harder for him to get his Medium tyres up to temperature than it was for those on the Softs.”
Binotto says Ferrari need to go back to their Maranello base and identify and work on the areas they seemingly are weaker than Mercedes in order to break the run of consecutive one-two finishes that their main rivals have achieved in the opening four races of 2019.
“Our pace was not good enough and our rivals were faster,” said Binotto. “We have to go home, identify the areas where we are weak and push in our way of working, to make more aggressive choices to get back to where we deserve to be.”