Mattia Binotto says ending the 2021 Formula 1 season with a podium finish in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the best way to conclude a year in which Scuderia Ferrari made a lot of progress from beginning to end.
Carlos Sainz Jr. secured his fourth podium finish of the year by finishing behind Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the Yas Marina Circuit, with the result securing Ferrari third place in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of the McLaren F1 Team.
Charles Leclerc may have only finished tenth in Abu Dhabi after a tricky race under the floodlights, but Binotto, the Team Principal of Ferrari, says both drivers have shown themselves to be up to the task to be a Ferrari driver, and he believes he has the best driver pairing on the grid.
“We wanted to finish this season with a smile and we did it,” said Binotto. “Having Carlos on the podium was the best way to end a championship in which we made significant progress compared to last year.
“We are aware that the gap to those fighting for the titles is still very big, but it cannot be denied that we took a considerable step forward over the course of the season. Third place in the Constructors’ Championship was down to the efforts of everyone in the team, at the track and back in Maranello, who worked really hard with determination, humility and in a united fashion.
“This team spirit and this will to improve together also extends to our drivers, Carlos and Charles, who have shown with their performance and their behaviour that they are up to the task they have been given as Scuderia Ferrari drivers. They are the best pairing on the grid.”
Binotto says the team can now switch all of their focus onto the 2022 car, which will be the first Ferrari designed with the new aerodynamic regulations in mind, and he hopes next year will give the teams’ fans a lot to cheer about.
“Now we can concentrate 100% on the development of next year’s car, when we want to give our fans all around the world something to cheer about,” said Binotto. “In fact, we thank them for their unwavering support, even at the most difficult moments.
“Finally, I want to thank our Partners who continue to support us, first and foremost Philip Morris International, who have been with us for over forty years. Their support is always important and will continue to be so in the future.”