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Binotto: What we did was not wrong

NEWS STORY
29/04/2019

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Ferrari's strategy, in terms of Charles Leclerc, the fact is that despite the fairy-tale result many were hoping for, the Monegasque's hopes ended when he crashed in Q2 on Saturday.

Starting the race on a new set of mediums, when all around were on softs, only compounded the problem - no pun intended - and as a result Leclerc was never realistically in the hunt.

Indeed, he admits that when he did eventually pit on lap 34, there was never any hope of a fight-back, rather a strategy that would allow him to pit again later in the race and go for the fastest lap, the youngster stressing that the stint on softs following his first stop was not indicative of the SF90's pace.

"I think a lot of people thought we were struggling, which I don't think we were, because I just didn't push to try and close the gap," he admitted.

"I asked on the radio pretty early in this run whether there was any possibility to come back to the guys in front, and the answer was no because the gap was too big. From that moment onwards it was just about trying to keep the tyres and try to push for the fastest lap when I had the opportunity to do so.

"Don't look at the pace from when we put the softs, it's not our real pace," he insists, "we were just trying to do the best lap.

"I am disappointed because I felt great in the car," he added. "I completely agree with Mattia, I think in the car has definitely the potential to do pole position and I threw all our chances away by touching the wall, it is my mistake, I take the responsibility, and today basically it was the best we could do from there.

"It's a bit disappointing, but on the other hand I think there are some positives to take away from the weekend. I think qualifying pace was definitely stronger than China and race pace was also very close to Mercedes. Now we look forward, and I'm pretty sure we will come back even stronger in Barcelona."

Asked if the youngster, as many believe, was left out too long and should have been pitted earlier, Binotto said: "Certainly, maybe yes, it could have been a different gamble, maybe stopping earlier on those tyres or trying to last very long on the medium. But you may always discuss different solutions at the end of the race looking back. But overall what we did was nothing wrong, let's say.

"Yesterday I think we got a good car for qualifying," he added. "Potentially we could have been on pole. We didn't.

"I think that the races are certainly a different matter," he continued. "The reason of it is a different day as first. I think that being in front or staying behind, it is quite different to manage your pace, your tyres. When you have got fresh or clean air certainly it is a lot easier, so I think that our pace as well today has been as well affected by our position on the grid, at the start, but not only that, certainly the others are very strong and we are facing a very strong competition.

"Obviously four races into the season, and no win for Ferrari, four wins for Mercedes, no doubt they are very strong," he said. "Certainly they have got a slightly better car, but I think that the gap is not so big and the points of the result are not reflecting the true potential of the cars."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Baku, here.

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1. Posted by 4-Wheel Drifter, 01/05/2019 0:13

"The Team Principal's "explanation" argues that the track, the weather, the stars, whatever -- were against them and so they couldn't win. That LeClerc is good is obvious; what isn't good is the Ferrari. The Germans are simply faster and better organized Nobody is talking about how rare it is in F1 for such a run of 1-2 starts and finishes and the obvious reason for this is that the Mercedes is the best car by far. They could be driven, right now, by Norris and Perez, for example, and be scoring just as many points. Vettel and LeClerc are doing the best they can with another piece of Ferrari junk. Enzo probably is tired of spinning in his grave and has moved on to better things. I love the Ferrari history; I am more interested in the Dutchman pushing his Honda around the track than I am in either of the four Merc and Ferrari drivers. Corporate control equals predictably unexciting results. F1 looks, more and more, every day, like 'Professional' wrestling, that is, "entertainment" for the intellectually challenged. "

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2. Posted by La Claire, 29/04/2019 21:19

"Lovely comments from Mr Binotto but it's just not true, right? Certainly I agree Charles made a mistake crashing, let's agree on that. But as for the rest, it's pretty obvious what happened is everyone wanted to start on the medium on the warm track with a heavy car, then switch to the soft near the end. The delays in qualy meant the track got colder and they had to switch to the soft to qualify well. Ferrari tried to pretend this wasn't true and stay out on the medium, making Vettel slide around and LeClerc crash (Ferrari error 1). The happy accident was that LeClerc now got to follow the preferred strategy for the race, medium then soft. Looked great but they kept him out too long (Ferrari error 2). Then the soft didn't work on the car, which is why LeClerc was no quicker after the pit stop but Vettel (on the opposite strategy) was. The car being unable to use the soft tire is Ferrari error 3. "

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