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    A few places gained

    Shanghai 21 aprile 2024

    Scuderia Ferrari marked the return of the Chinese Grand Prix to the calendar with a fourth and a fifth place courtesy of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. On the plus side, a total of 31 points in the bag, including those from the Sprint Race, the second highest total behind Red Bull. It was always going to be about trying to make up places after a difficult qualifying, but for the first time this season, neither driver made it to the podium.

    Strategy and management. From sixth and seventh on the grid, the strategy was aimed at moving Charles and Carlos up the order without getting stuck in a DRS train. But neither of them got a good start, both of them overtaken by George Russell and that further complicated matters. Leclerc managed to get ahead of the Mercedes after nine laps and then ran at a strong pace on the Medium tyres, running a longer stint than those around him. Carlos had a harder first stint and came in on lap 17 to switch to Hards, rejoining tenth. One of the key moments was the arrival of the Virtual Safety Car on lap 22, when Valtteri Bottas stopped out on track, followed by a real Safety Car period. Charles then made his only planned stop to fit Hard tyres, taking half the time compared to usual, which thus promoted him to third behind Max Verstappen and Lando Norris and ahead of Sergio Perez. Carlos also benefited from the pit stops, moving up to fifth. At the restart, neither Ferrari driver was able to match the pace of the quickest cars on Hard tyres and so the Monegasque had to give best to Perez. Sainz had to lengthen his stint on the Hards, dropping down one place to sixth as Alonso passed him. However, Fernando was on Soft tyres and so Carlos retook the place when the Aston Martin had to make a further stop, thus finishing fifth, behind his team-mate.

    Next stop Florida. The world championship resumes in a fortnight’s time with the sixth round in Miami, the last race before the start of the European leg of the season.


    Charles Leclerc #16

    We’re not completely satisfied with our result as a team today. We have two things to focus on leaving Shanghai, one is our qualifying trim and the other our pace on the Hards, which was our main challenge today. Our strategy and performance were strong until the Safety Car, but after that we were all on the same strategy and it was a bit more difficult for us to get back to speed on the Hard tyres.

    What will be essential is the upcoming upgrades, as they will define the direction we will take for the next part of the season.


    Carlos Sainz #55

    A tough race on a challenging track for us this weekend. The first few corners were far from ideal and with the traffic we decided to pit early to switch to the Hard tyres. Some laps later, under the Safety Car, we stayed out on that tyre and went to the end to finish fifth. 

    In any case, overall we struggled more than expected and the result today is not what we wanted. We will review everything before going to Miami, where I’m confident we can return to the form we showed in the previous weekends.

    Fred Vasseur Team Principal

    I’m not sure if we could have expected more in terms of finishing higher up the order today given our grid positions. However, I was expecting more in terms of pace than we demonstrated in the race. We now need to understand why that was, especially on the Hards and improve in time for Miami both in qualifying and the race because it’s all very close currently with hundredths of a second making a big difference.

    We had put both drivers on a two-stop strategy and Charles did a good job of lengthening his stint on the Mediums, but when the Virtual Safety Car was called, we went for a one stop, with the hope of being able to fight for a podium finish.

    Unfortunately, Carlos had stopped just before the Safety Car and so he too had to switch to a single stop. This naturally meant he had to be a bit conservative in the final part of the race, but he still brought home the best result that was possible today.