Bahrain Grand Prix: Race team notes - Ferrari


Scuderia Ferrari got its season underway at the Bahrain Grand Prix with a third place for Carlos Sainz and a fourth for Charles Leclerc.

The team got the best result possible given the hierarchy seen on track today. Compared to one year ago, the gap to the front has come down and the SF-24 showed that, in its current form, it's a good starting point.

Charles kept second place off the line, while Carlos dropped to fifth as Sergio Perez got ahead of him. However, the Monegasque immediately ran into problems with the brakes which meant he found it difficult to keep up with Perez and George Russell ahead of him. Carlos also got ahead of Leclerc, after which the Spaniard was able to match the pace of the Red Bull and the Mercedes thanks to great tyre management. Charles was called in on lap 11, in the hope the team could help his race, while Sainz stayed out until lap 14. On the Hards, the Spaniard was immediately very quick, to the extent he again passed his team-mate on lap 18 and Russell next time round, before setting off in pursuit of Perez.

Gradually, Charles found a way to deal with his braking difficulties, driving around the problem so that he too caught up with Russell having pitted a second time for a new set of Hard tyres. The Ferrari caught the Mercedes on lap 42 and put Russell under pressure, forcing him into an error at turn 10 on lap 47, which allowed Charles to snatch fourth place, behind his team-mate. Sainz took the flag less than three seconds behind Perez, which was the very best result he could have hoped for. Indeed, his spectacular passing moves earned him the Driver of the Day award, as voted for by the general public.

Straight back on track. The Formula 1 World Championship is pressing on at pace, with the teams all heading straight to Saudi Arabia for the second race of the season next Saturday. The Jeddah Corniche circuit will present the SF-24 with a very different challenge, on a track featuring close walls, long straights and high-speed corners.

Carlos Sainz: It's a solid start to the season and very good points for the team. I felt really good in the car all race long, being able to control the pace and doing good overtakes. I tried everything to manage the tyres on the last stint to try and attack Checo (Perez) at the end of the race, but they are still faster than us. However, I think we have a very good baseline to work on and we need to keep pushing to close the gap. On to Jeddah!

Charles Leclerc: It was a disappointing race from my side. There was an issue with the brakes, so I struggled to stay on track, especially in turns 9 and 10. We would have had the pace in the car to put up a good fight so I can't wait to get back in the car in Jeddah.

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: We were hoping for a better result but we had a brake issue during the race with Charles, so all in all we maximized the result on track today. Carlos had a good race with a very smart comeback after not getting a perfect start and he was able to fight with Perez until the final stages. We knew we would have been on the Hard tyre and Checo would have been on Softs and our aim was to put the Red Bull under pressure, which we did towards the end but it was not enough.

Charles struggled for the entire race with the brakes and because of that in the first stint flat-spotted his tyres so we had to pit him earlier than planned. We will have to investigate why the brakes were not at the correct temperature.

This weekend, our flying lap performance matched our expectations, but we have a clear step to make in terms of our race pace as we were not in the fight with Red Bull. That said I consider today's race a good baseline as we were able to close the gap considerably compared to last year. We will continue with our development and I'm confident we will be able to take the fight to them more often.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Bahrain here.

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Published: 02/03/2024
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