Formula 1

Charles Leclerc: “I was really pushing from the beginning to the end”

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Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc felt he got the best result possible in Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, and he felt further progress had been made by his Scuderia Ferrari team across the weekend.

The Monegasque racer gambled on not pitting when the safety car was deployed due to Max Verstappen spinning out, but staying on used hard tyres left him vulnerable at the restart to those with fresher rubber, and he lost fourth place to the charging Daniil Kvyat.

Leclerc was positive that he was able to push throughout the race and challenge for the big points, although it was disappointing to lose one position on the restart.

“P5 feels quite good today, I think we did the maximum,” said Leclerc.  “We expected a very difficult first stint, but in fact, we were quite competitive.

“Then we switched to the Hard and we were probably a tiny bit quicker than Daniel (Ricciardo) in front, but not enough to overtake, so we were stuck behind him. Then, at the restart after the safety car I struggled more than Daniil (Kvyat), who was coming up behind me on new tyres.

“I was really pushing from the beginning to the end and I feel we were quite competitive during the whole race. Also, we did a good job in managing our tyres.”

“This is clearly not the result we wanted” – Sebastian Vettel

Team-mate Sebastian Vettel drove strongly in the first stint and was on course for a top ten finish, only for a delay in his pit stop ruining his afternoon to the point he ended up twelfth at the chequered flag.

The German was running well in the opening laps and was set to gain positions thanks to Kevin Magnussen holding up a number of drivers, including the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Leclerc.  However, he suffered delays with two of his tyres during his pit stop and he fell away from the points-paying positions.

“We started on the Medium, which was the right thing to do as it was still working very well, even after a good amount of laps,” said Vettel.  “Today the pace was good in the first stint, then we lost time in the pit-stop, which is a shame.

“We tried to come back with the Soft tyre at the end, but it was very difficult to make progress in a train of cars. This is clearly not the result we wanted and for sure not the one we would have deserved today.

“I was comfortable in the car even if this year the problem is more severe in qualifying, where I struggle to get a feel for the car. We have to remain patient and continue to make gradual progress, as we have been doing, given that we missed Q3 by just two tenths yesterday.

“If we can start from a bit higher up the grid, the next races could bring us better results.”

Binotto Happy with Consolidation of Progress after Strong Race Pace at Imola           

Mattia Binotto, the Team Principal at Ferrari, says it was apparent that the team were continuing to see an improvement to their performance levels at Imola, thanks to the recent spate of updates brought to the SF1000.

Binotto was happy that they were able to show good race pace at Imola, much like they did last time out at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, meaning the SF1000 is working on a number of different types of tracks.

“It’s clear to see that we are consolidating the progress we have made in recent races, especially in terms of race pace at a variety of tracks with very different characteristics,” said Binotto.  “That’s important for the rest of this season and for the next one. Once again, Charles did a very good job, both in managing the tyres and when it came to defending position in the closing stages.

“Seb also had a strong race and we are very sorry for the problem at the pit stop that robbed him of a top ten finish, thus losing the chance to pick up valuable points.”

Binotto also sent congratulations to the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team after the race, with the German outfit having secured a record seventh consecutive Constructors’ Championship thanks to their one-two finish on Sunday afternoon. 

He says Ferrari’s aim continues to be where Mercedes are, and he says that despite there being a long way to go, he can see the team returning to the top of the standings in the near future.

“Finally, I wish to congratulate Mercedes for winning the Constructors’ championship,” said Binotto.  “We know we have a very long way to go to be fighting once again for those same goals, something we have achieved so often in our history, but we firmly believe we can do it.”

A slow pit stop ended Sebastian Vettel’s chances of points at Imola – Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
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