"We made too many mistakes," admits Vasseur


So competitive are the teams behind Red Bull that Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur admits that even the tiniest difference means going from hero to zero.

While the Maranello outfit left China with 31 points - the Sprint and race combined - McLaren had 27. However, while many believe that Ferrari is the main threat to Red Bull, the Austrian outfit left Shanghai with 54 points on a weekend when the Scuderia clearly struggled.

Losing out to the Bulls and Lewis Hamilton on Saturday, on Sunday Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz lost out to Lando Norris also.

Asked if the fact that it was a Sprint weekend compromised his team, Vasseur replied: "There is no normal weekend.

"From the beginning of the season, we know that our pack is very, very tight," he continued, "and perhaps that Max sometimes is a bit faster. But we have a pack with six or seven cars in one-tenth.

"I think in qualifying it was one-tenth between P2, P3 and P8 or P9, that means that for details, you can move from hero to zero.

"When you start from P9, the race is much more difficult because you have dirty air in the first laps," he continued. "Even if you are faster, you struggle to overtake. Because if you don't have the big gap, you damage the tyres in the first ten laps, and then you are dead.

"I think it's really a matter of putting everything together," he admitted. "We didn't have a clean weekend on our side. We made too many mistakes. And we know that in this group, if you don't do the perfect job, you won't be in front."

Part of the problem, the Frenchman admits, is that his team didn't do its homework.

"I think nobody came to a test day one month ago in Shanghai," he told Formu1a.uno. "It was the first time that we came back in Shanghai with this type of generation of car and the coating or painting on the tarmac probably didn't help, because I think we had a huge track evolution over the weekend.

"But it's absolutely not an excuse," he insisted, "everybody had the same situation, and some teams managed it better than some others. We have to understand if we can do a better job in the preparation, but I think this one was quite bad."

While the Italian team is set to introduce a raft of updates at Imola, the Frenchman emphasised that it is no good looking to the future, first the team has to make the best of what it has.

"It's more a matter of extracting the best of what we have," he said. "Honestly, we are speaking about development, but first, as a team, we have to get the best from what we have. We didn't do the job this weekend on this."

Of course, the situation was helped by the obvious rivalry between his two drivers, who had moments during the sprint and at the start of the Grand Prix.

"Well, it's not a good help to lose a position at the start," he said, "we are behind Perez and Norris at the start, and we finish behind them at the end of the race.

"I think if we lose something, it's more on the last stint," he said of the race. "And if we miss something, it's to start from too far away on the grid, for sure. Also we were a bit less performant, I think, on the hard than on the medium."

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Published: 24/04/2024
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