Ferrari’s latest update package was not the reason for the race pace improvement at the Russian Grand Prix, according to team principal Mattia Binotto.
The Scuderia brought some new parts to Sochi to try and improve a car that proved particularly uncompetitive throughout the latest triple header at Spa-Francorchamps, Monza and Mugello. The team scored a total of just five points at those three races, but bounced back with an impressive drive to sixth from Charles Leclerc in Russia, scoring eight points on his own.
“I think there are a few positives,” Binotto said. “The first is the result, the second is the relative pace in the race. Certainly with Charles, a little bit more difficult for Seb – more in the traffic, starting lower on the grid etc – but I think that compared to the last races, at least a bit more competitive in the race.
“We brought some new bits. It’s not a big step forward, not yet sufficient – we are fully aware of that – but we have to go in the right direction at least for the remainder of the season.
“I don’t think it’s down to the upgrades. That’s a little help, but that’s not the reason. I think we got a better balance here, and it’s track characteristics. But let’s hope we’ve again found some competitiveness that at least gives the two drivers the opportunity to compete for a better position in the future.”
Leclerc believes it was car set-up that contributed most to his performance.
“I think, overall, we did a better job with the balance of the car,” Leclerc said. “On my side the car was pretty nice throughout the race, which is why I could perform at my best. That’s where I struggled the most in Mugello, but on Sunday the car was quite good to drive so it helped me to extract the maximum out of it.
“Driving-wise it’s not like we feel a big difference, but the data says that it’s a small gain, which is what we expected, so it’s already positive. I am looking forward to the next races where we will hopefully have something a bit bigger.”