Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says unusually high tire wear on his team’s car was costing it pace in both qualifying and race trim during Friday practice at the British Grand Prix.
Mercedes set the pace in FP2 at Silverstone with Valtteri Bottas edging out Lewis Hamilton by just 0.069s. While Bottas was happy with the balance of his car, Hamilton was not fully comfortable and their combined best sectors suggested Mercedes is capable of going nearly half a second quicker. Ferrari was only 0.2s off the pace courtesy of Charles Leclerc and while Binotto accepts the full picture was not seen on Friday, he says even over one lap there was an obvious weakness for the Scuderia.
“We knew that Silverstone will definitely be more difficult for us compared may be to the last race, no doubt,” team principal Mattia Binotto explained. “But we are also curious to see the progress of the car, the progress we made in the last weeks.
“Today was just very difficult, it’s still too early. But we had really high wear on the front tires, on the front left. Somehow this was really affecting the single qualifying lap, because if you look very closely we were strong in the first and second sectors but weak on the last one. There was understeer, and that understeer is (hurting) these tires, damaging them in the high fuel pace.
“I think we will focus on it this evening. Overnight, we will see what we can do with the front wear. By the time the car will be balanced I think we will get a better judgment of our overall performance in Silverstone.”
“After Saturday in Austria, I said that in the last few races we scored two poles, and we could’ve won two races, which has not been the case. Overall I think we are improving. Certainly some circuits are better suiting to our car and our package.
“As I said earlier, maybe here in Silverstone it will be more difficult. But it doesn’t mean that we cannot be here to challenge our competitors. So we have much still to do, and whatever will be the result of Silverstone there will be new races and new opportunities to improve.”