Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says recent strong results have shown Ferrari has a faster and more consistent car than earlier in the year.
Sebastian Vettel secured his first podium of the season at the Turkish Grand Prix, finishing third as teammate Charles Leclerc took fourth. It could have been even better for Ferrari as Leclerc had overtaken Sergio Perez on the final lap but ran wide from second place three corners from the end, and although the performance came in treacherous conditions, Binotto says the result is a sign of how much the car has improved.
“It’s important for Ferrari doing well at the moment,” Binotto said. “We knew we have improved the car and if you look at the last races, we have improved our positions in the race. The car has become more consistent, and the car has become a bit faster.
“It’s great to have those results, as it’s great for next year, and great looking ahead for the next races. As well, in terms of constructors’ positions, it’s not the end of the championship. It’s encouraging. People have worked hard back at home, trying to understand the weaknesses of the car, and preparing them for next season. Those results are encouraging ourselves.”
Vettel’s result is the high point in a frustrating final season for the German at Ferrari so far, and Binotto says it further shows that the drivers are able to get more out of the machinery.
“I’m very pleased for Sebastian — I think a podium for him is very important, finishing third. It’s been a difficult season for him. I think he has started, at least now at the end of the season, to get more comfortable with the car and he’s delivering better.
“I think on Sunday, he made a good result, at the start, very consistent, good pace, managing the tires, and defending the positions. On the last lap, he did well, he took the opportunity — it’s great for him. He finished third, very close to Perez. I’m happy for him. Still three races, hopefully we do well in the next one.”
After the checkered flag, Leclerc was particularly harsh on himself having climbed from 16th to run second, but Binotto says the mistakes did cost him a better result in such a dramatic race, and one that could prove crucial with Ferrari now 24 points off third place in the constructors’ championship.
“Charles did a fantastic job recovering from 16th, to force final positions. He drove very well, he was very fast, but he did some mistakes — he did some mistakes at the start, a few more mistakes when driving and then at the last corner as well. He drove very fast, and without mistakes, he could have hoped for a better final position. But overall, I think it has been a useful race for him. When we review the entire weekend, and the race, I think he will learn for the future. Overall, he’s very fast and a fantastic driver.”