By: Myanna Wedes
The World Championship vision is the focus for Charles Leclerc and he is doing everything right in order to be within contention. His style of racing at Albert Park was perfect from lights out until the very last lap when he crossed the finish line. He handled the pressure of the safety car restarts, expectations upon his shoulders from the key stakeholders and put on a display of maturity as a driver considering he was the only remaining factory Scuderia Ferrari car after Carlos Sainz’s early exit. Now, Max Verstappen can complain all he likes about the safety car being a turtle and slow, with that said, Verstappen is frustrated being so far behind in the points and probably questioning how Ferrari can be this strong early on. In the past, we have seen the red beasts start strong and then drop off. Something feels different with the car and drivers this year and we anticipate some very close battles for the upcoming several races.
Charles Leclerc #16:
“What a great victory this was for us! We managed our pace well and were extremely competitive. We didn’t suffer from tyre degradation, even when pushing hard. The car was just amazing and I’m very pleased with how my race went. On paper, this was a track that we expected to be tough for us, so we have to review our data because we were in fact very strong.It’s a great way to start the season, but we have to keep in mind that we are only three races into a very long championship. We can’t afford to relax at any moment and have to stay on top of things, most of all on development. Congratulations to everyone on our team. What an amazing job you have all done! I’m very proud of how far we’ve come and can’t wait to continue fighting. Forza Ferrari!”
During our time trackside, we thought the pick of the weekend was Sainz after a dominant few sessions. However, cracks appeared and this no doubt impacted his overall performance levels. It was a race of reality for Sainz, in that things can go wrong and sometimes you try to recover and it gets worse. These challenges will make him stronger and a better race car driver. The battle for the number one seat is far from over though Ferrari at some point is going to have to back the driver who is considerably ahead in points and in fine form. We would not like to be the person making that call.!
Carlos Sainz #55:
“This is definitely a difficult weekend to digest. After all that happened yesterday, I was looking forward to the race but we hit problems even before the start. On the laps to the grid we had an issue with some switches on the steering wheel and we had to change it one minute before the formation lap. Unfortunately, at the start, the anti-stall kicked in. Trying to recover and overtake, I made a mistake as I pushed too early when the tyres were probably not ready. Up until Q3 the weekend was going ok but from then on everything just went wrong. We will analyse it carefully, learn and move on. The car felt good so congrats to the team and to Charles for the win. We’ll come back stronger in Imola.”
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal & Managing Director:
“I am very pleased. It’s always great to win and it also boosts the morale of the team who deserve all this, because they have all developed the right mentality to face difficult moments head on and make the most of any opportunity. We always say that you can only come out on top in Formula 1 if you do everything to perfection and I think today’s race proved that. Charles delivered a mature performance, something he is now making a habit of. It’s a shame for Carlos, because his weekend was complicated by a series of circumstances in both qualifying and the race, which affected his performance. I know him well enough to believe that he will turn the negatives to his advantage and come back stronger next time he’s in the car. The start of the season has been positive and the work of the past few months is paying off. We will continue to concentrate on ourselves and take it one race at a time. We have earned some time with our families over Easter, but then we will get back to it, working on the next race, which being at Imola, takes on even greater importance. We can’t wait to be there and we’re looking forward to seeing the circuit packed with our fans, to share this good start to the year.”
When you reflect upon the team principals who have led the Ferrari team, Binotto is calm, focused and allowing the cars to do their thing on track with two quality drivers. We do think that an announcement is incoming about resigning Sainz to keep the momentum focused on the results rather than upsetting the team rhythm which is vital to succeeding in a sport that is oh so cutthroat with results. The team have a stable base format for their car and it is working from circuit to circuit. This could be the year where the reds dominate and stay ahead of the curve rather than slipping down the slope.