Binotto: Leclerc showed ‘maturity’ after securing pole

Henry Valantine
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc celebrates taking pole. Bahrain March 2022.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc punches the air after taking pole position. Bahrain March 2022.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto was impressed with Charles Leclerc in qualifying because he did not get over-excited after securing pole position.

Leclerc took P1 in an exciting qualifying session, pipping Max Verstappen and his own Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz to pole for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix – with only 0.129s separating the top three.

The Monegasque driver sounded understandably pleased with his work when his team radio was played out, but did not go over the top after earning his 10th pole position in Formula 1.

With two race victories to his name next to those 10 poles, Leclerc knows there is still plenty to be done if he is to win this race.

Binotto praised both of his drivers after qualifying, maintaining his belief that the Scuderia have the best driver line-up on the grid.

“Carlos did a great qualifying today, he behaved well from the first run in Q1. He spotted the weaknesses and managed to do what he had to do to stay close to Charles,” Binotto told Sky Italia after qualifying when asked about his drivers’ reactions to their P1 and P3 starting slots.

“He was on pole after the first attempt in Q3. On his last attempt he made a few mistakes that didn’t allow him to improve his lap time. But he’s able to study and be present when the moment is right.

“And from Charles, that’s a sign of maturity – we keep saying we have the best driver line-up.

“It was a great lap. He knew he had to put together every single corner, trying to put the lap together. He gave everything in that last attempt and it went well.

“Then I have to say the car went well in the second sector where there are more corners, and there the car behaved well.

“But also, we have four Ferrari engines in the first seven positions. So the engine too has improved – it’s the overall package that behaved well today.”

Ferrari and Red Bull were locked in a battle at the sharp end throughout qualifying, but Formula 1’s oldest team came up trumps as the grid was set – but there are still 57 laps of Bahrain to come on Sunday.

The team principal spoke of the happiness within the team after an entertaining session, but is wary of the challenge ahead in Sakhir.


“Red Bull are P2 and P4, they are very strong and they will be very strong tomorrow in the race,” said Binotto. “Today, we are happy with what we saw. Tomorrow is another day, with other difficulties.

“We will have to manage the tyre degradation, a different situation. But for now, we have to be happy for today.

“Let’s remember where we were last year. I saw the team cheering – this will give us that extra boost to face the next challenges.”

Additional reporting by Luca Brambilla


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