Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 team principal Mattia Binotto said Charles Leclerc “will get over” his race-ending crash at the German Grand Prix while he was in contention for victory.
Leclerc crashed from fourth place on lap 27 of 64 in slippery conditions at Hockenheim on soft compound tyres, and was due to change to intermediates as the rain increased.
The drag strip on the outside of Turn 16 proved to be a hazard throughout the race, with numerous drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Nico Hülkenberg and Kimi Räikkönen losing control on the waterlogged tarmac, and heavily contributed to Leclerc’s failure to stop the car after running wide because of a snap of oversteer.
Binotto noted that Leclerc understands that a big chance for a maiden F1 victory was missed on Sunday, but praised the 21-year-old for his performance before that point.
Leclerc had been catching leading trio Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen with a succession of fastest laps.
“He’s aware today was an opportunity missed, but he will get over it,” said Binotto.
“There are plenty more races and there is no doubt that the guy is very quick and today he was delivering an extraordinary performance.
“It’s true that maybe we could have come away with more today, but that’s racing.”
Leclerc’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel produced a comeback drive to finish second from twentieth and last on the grid, after a turbo issue prevented the German from setting a time in qualifying.
Vettel did express some concern over the same problem rearing its head during the race, but any potential ailments failed to halt the German’s progress.
After a difficult start to the 2019 season, Binotto noted the positive impact this result will have on the four-time world champion’s confidence – one year on from the crash at Hockenheim that derailed his championship bid in spectacular fashion.
“We are very happy for Seb as this fantastic second place is a great confidence boost,” Binotto continued.
“He has been in great form all weekend and today he produced a brilliant drive, coming through from the back of the field.”
Binotto took pleasure from the SF90‘s performance in cooler conditions, after the team dominated Friday’s Free Practice sessions in high ambient temperatures.
Question marks were also raised by the car’s pace in wet conditions, again a worry that failed to materialise in the race.
“The car worked well all weekend, in all conditions,” he reported.
“Today it proved to be quick, even in the final part of the race in the dry on a much cooler track than we had to deal with in the extreme heat on Friday.
“That is definitely an important consideration, as was the fact it also went well in the wet.
“Thanks go to all the crew in the garage who worked so hard to get the cars fixed this morning so they were ready to race.
“We’ve had some difficult moments, but it’s at times like these that you see what the team is made of and that’s the important thing.”