Ferrari’s gap to ‘the best’ grew to ‘nine-tenths’ in Mexico

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz following Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc. Mexico November 2021

Carlos Sainz following Charles Leclerc. Mexico November 2021

Racing at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodreguez, one of Formula 1’s less power sensitive circuits, Ferrari’s gap to the top two teams grew to “nine-tenths”.

And that, says team boss Mattia Binotto, was unexpected.

Although Ferrari brought both cars home in the points at the Mexican Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc P5 to his team-mate Carlos Sainz’s sixth, neither driver was ever in the running for a podium result.

In fact Ferrari were beaten on the day by AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, the Frenchman crossing the line almost 20 seconds ahead.

While the result was still a good one for Ferrari, the team moving up to third place in the Constructors’ Championship, the performance was not what Binotto wanted.

The Italian had expected, with engine power out of the mix, for Ferrari’s SF21 to be closer to the Red Bull and Mercedes cars but instead the gap grew.

“If I look at the last races, we had a pace which was a lot closer to the top teams – half a second, while [in Mexico] it was something like nine tenths of a second,” Binotto said as per The Race.

“We were a bit behind. And honestly, I was hoping coming to Mexico – where we know that the power unit counts less, it’s a circuit where it’s less power sensitive – to have a better overall relative performance, which has not been the case.

“We struggled a bit on performance in the qualy, we struggled as well compared to the best cars [in the race].

“And I think the fact that Gasly has been ahead of us is another sign. So certainly he did very well. So well done to Gasly and AlphaTauri.

“But I was at least hoping to finish higher than the AlphaTauri and closer to the best.”

But while Ferrari didn’t have the pace they wanted in Mexico, they still put in a better weekend that McLaren.

The Scuderia claimed a double points-haul whereas McLaren managed just one point with Lando Norris P10 in the grand prix.

That means Ferrari leapfrogged the Mercedes-powered team for third place in the Constructors’ standings, taking a 13.5 point lead.

“Overall, it has been a great team result,” said Binotto.

“We are in third position now, 13.5 points ahead of McLaren with four races to go. So I think it’s still a very tight battle.

“But at the moment we are third with 13.5 points which are not negligible.

“Certainly McLaren has struggled as well. Let’s see now in Brazil, but hopefully we may consolidate what we’ve seen today.

“It’s difficult to judge, I was hoping to be quicker in Mexico, it has not been the case. So I think that my forecast will be wrong, whatever I will do!

“But if I look at the last races, at least, we have always been ahead of them.

“Since we introduced the new power unit, we think we’ve got some little advantage in performance, which is very useful at that stage of the season.”


Leclerc and Sainz not on same page for Ferrari

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were not on the same page for Ferrari at the Mexican GP.