The Bahrain Grand Prix provided Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow with a first indication of the quality of the work carried out over the winter, both in terms of the car itself and how the team worked. Sixth and eighth place finishes for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz respectively are a good starting point for a season that’s going to be long and hectic.
A step forward. With two teams clearly ahead of the pack, the fight to be third best is very close, as was seen in qualifying and Ferrari was in that fight from the first to the last lap. Yesterday, the Scuderia seemed to have won that particular contest, today the situation changed, but the gaps were still very small. Making a comparison with the race run on this track four months ago, the progress was clear to see, relative to our closest competitors, as well as to those at the front of the field, the latter gap still being quite a big one. Particular attention went into planning relating to tyre management and here too this produced results. There’s still a long way to go, but we seem to be on the right road.
Next round. There is now a three week break before the season resumes, with the Made in Italy e dell’Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola on 18 April.
Charles Leclerc #16
"It’s a nice start and a good feeling and I am reasonably happy with the race today. I cannot be extremely satisfied with P6, but at the end of the day we need to look at where we were last year and it’s clear we have made good progress.
I had a very good start. I found myself in third place and managed my tyres quite well in the first stint. I think there was probably a bit more left in them, but we had to stop and try to push the others towards different strategies, which was the right thing to do, but it might have cost us a little bit in terms of pace at the end of the race.
All in all, it was a good race and a positive weekend and we made a good step forward compared to last season. We’re still not where we want to be, so we need to keep working and pushing very hard to get better in the coming races."
Carlos Sainz #55
"I think we had a solid first race today. It was very important for me to complete all the laps and keep building experience with the car. Maybe that’s the reason why this time I didn’t take too many risks at the start and it cost me a couple of places. I was curious to see how the car reacted in the dirty air of a race start and I knew I would have the opportunity to fight back once I got into my rhythm.
Once the race settled a bit, I started pushing lap by lap and I think we showed a very strong pace with the Medium tyre and especially with the Hard tyre during the last stint. I also managed to pull of some good overtakes.
Today I’m happy for the work we have been doing the entire weekend. Ferrari wants more. I want more. But it has been a promising start and we’ll keep pushing to get there."
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
"That was a very intense race. It was the first of 23 stages of what will be a very long season and we must take each one as it comes, working calmly and with determination, just as we did this weekend. In the race, we struggled a bit more than we had done in qualifying, but we acquired plenty of useful data that will allow us to understand where we must improve.
There’s a long way to go, but we will continue working to improve in all areas. Now our attention turns to the next round in Imola, which is special for us given that, along with Monza, it is a home race for us."