Ferrari boss, Mattia Binotto, feels Charles Leclerc was denied the chance of having a “greater qualifying” due to issues that arose in FP3.
The Scuderia had to change Leclerc’s race-fitted engine to an older spec after his PU went up in smoke before he could even get a timed lap on the board in final practice.
It left Leclerc on the back foot compared to his rivals heading into qualifying and Binotto feels it was a case of what could have been after witnessing Sebastian Vettel in the other Ferrari get pipped to pole position by 0.012 seconds thanks to Valtteri Bottas.
Leclerc himself was only 0.108s down in P4, but it could have been a different story had his engine not gone pop earlier in the day.
“Charles has been really unlucky,” Binotto told Sky Sports in Italy following qualifying in Austin, Texas.
“For our fault he missed all the final practice session. We changed the setups completely today compared to Friday, so it was all different compared to when he drove the car on Friday.
“I believe Leclerc had a great qualifying and I believe that if he could have tested the car in FP3 he would have had an even greater qualifying.”
Ferrari have developed a habit of not converting 1-2 starts on the grid, so Binotto is also hoping their fortunes change now they are starting further down on the grid.
He added: “We were coming from consecutive poles, we wanted to be first also today but I think Bottas did a terrific lap.
“We will try to change things, when we started in pole we didn’t win the race so we hope that not starting first we will win it this time. Again the key will be the tire degradation.”
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