Ferrari lacked ’20hp compared to McLaren’ at Monza

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris passes Charles Leclerc. Italy September 2021.

McLaren driver Lando Norris comes up alongside the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc to make a pass. Italy September 2021.

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto says it was clear that the Scuderia were down on horsepower compared to the Mercedes-powered McLaren cars at Monza.

But, adds the Italian, it is no reason to be “down in the dumps” as Ferrari are already working on a solution.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had a sniff at the podium at the Italian Grand Prix, the Monégasque driver running in second place when the race resumed after a Safety Car for Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s crash.

He immediately had to go on the defensive, trying to hold off Lando Norris, but that didn’t last long, the McLaren driver taking second through the Curva Grande.

Three laps later and he was also behind Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas, running in fifth place.

Leclerc stayed P5 but was elevated to fourth after Perez was penalised. Carlos Sainz made it a double points-haul for Ferrari, bringing his SF21 home in sixth place.

Told by Sky Italia that Ferrari had a “20hp deficit compared to McLaren”, Binotto responded: “I think today we saw that.

“We know it was present, this must not get us down in the dumps, we’re working on that a lot, also in view of next season. The development is also well under way.

“It’s clear that it’s a pity to lose points, but a race like this one must cheer us up for what we did. It was a solid race in general, good driving from the drivers, the strategy, the pit stop. Overall it’s good.”

He added: “The pace was good, especially in the first sector. The second chicane, Roggia and Lesmo I have to say were good.

“At the exit of Ascari we were suffering a bit, then we were losing speed on that straight, including the Parabolica to arrive until Turn 1.

“So let’s say the last straight and the first straight it’s where we were more vulnerable and in trouble this weekend. And we paid for that at the restart and with the overtakes.”

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With Daniel Ricciardo winning the grand prix ahead of Norris, McLaren are back up to third place in the Constructors’ Championship, 13.5 points ahead of Ferrari.

Binotto sees no reason why Ferrari can’t “reverse” the deficit before the year is up.

“We expected a difficult weekend for us, all in all P4 and P6 is a solid result,” he said. “Then congrats to McLaren, today they did full points, so good for them.

“On our side we focus [on ourselves], we were vulnerable at the restart after the Safety Car, we were overtaken. I would say this can happen for what we know is still a bit our weakness, so the top speed and the engine power and performance.”

He added: “I think McLaren adapts well to this track, also last year they did a great weekend.

“Yes, we can reverse it, it is not said that by the end there can be tracks that can suit better for us. Then we’ll always do our best. There are some tracks where we expect to do well.”

Additional reporting from Luca Brambilla


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