Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto called on his team to deliver a one-two finish in this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix after Charles Leclerc crashed out and Carlos Sainz finished fifth in France.
Leclerc took his first French GP pole on Saturday and led until Lap 18, when he spun and crashed at Turn 11. Team mate Sainz, whose slipstream helped Leclerc take pole, started 19th with engine penalties and made it as high as P3 – before being pulled into the pits to serve an unsafe release penalty and take a new set of medium tyres to recover to P5.
The result saw Ferrari take 11 points to Red Bull’s 37 and Mercedes’ 33 – the Scuderia now hankering to hit back in Hungary.
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“If you would have asked me before this race what was the gap to Red Bull or Max, I couldn’t answer to you because I’m not looking. What we are focused on is trying to go at each single race and get the maximum results from it. And it didn’t happen here in Paul Ricard,” said Binotto.
“There is always something to improve and learn, and that’s our approach. It’s step by step; we are progressing and becoming better. Once again today we have proved to our drivers, we have a fast car and a competitive one. I think we are simply looking to Hungary, we need to turn the page and look to Hungary and do a one-two there, so we simply focus on the next result.
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“Our car is great, gentle with tyre management, the drivers as well are doing the proper job, and I think we come out from here Le Castellet with full confidence on our package, on our drivers’ capacity and our speed,” added the Ferrari boss.
“So… in a week’s time we’ve got Hungary, only seven days, important for us to turn the page, to look forward. Hungary will be again very hot and it will be again about tyre management, tyre degradation and tyres overheating – very similar to Le Castellet. So I will say there is plenty of reason why we need to smile, and be positive, because our objective going in Hungary should be not for a winning, but a one-two.”
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As for Leclerc, who took responsibility for his crash, Binotto said it was a “genuine mistake” that saw the Monegasque driver crash out and refuted that a stuck throttle was the problem – the pole-sitter having been hampered by a stuck throttle in Austria before mentioning the throttle in his post-crash radio message at Paul Ricard.
“No, first there was no issues with the throttle itself, nothing to do with Austria,” continued the Ferrari chief. “What happened is a genuine mistake of Charles, which are things that may happen, and I think they do not take off how good he is as a driver and as a fantastic driver. But it was a genuine mistake…
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“What you heard on the radio was about when he was in reverse gear trying to get out from the barriers, there is a strategy without going in all the details, that somehow he was on the throttle, didn’t feel sufficient torque from the engine, but [there] was nothing wrong.
“And I’m pretty sure he will learn. We have always seen that Charles is reacting very strongly and well to when he’s doing mistakes. And I’m pretty sure that it will be back in Hungary stronger and hungry.”