Ferrari fear their Monaco challenge was a one-off

Jon Wilde
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc with the pole position prize at the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc with the pole position prize at the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix

Mattia Binotto fears Ferrari’s return to the front of the pack in Monaco could be a one-off – at least until the Hungarian Grand Prix.

At the end of last summer, at circuits such as Spa and Monza, the Scuderia had regressed to such an extent they found themselves racing Alfa Romeo, Williams and Haas.

But nine months on, they were back at the head of affairs in the Monaco Grand Prix as Charles Leclerc claimed pole position, with his team-mate Carlos Sainz in fourth.

Of course, Leclerc crashed at the end of qualifying and was ruled out of the race minutes before the start, but Sainz drove solidly to take second place behind Max Verstappen.

However, the theory appeared to be that the Scuderia’s cars were more suited than most of their rivals by the nature of the Monaco circuit and that, with the next few venues in Azerbaijan, France, Austria and Britain being less twisty, they will not be as strong.

Team principal Binotto, quoted by, said: “I think there will be tracks with slow corners on which we might be competitive again, but that is not a matter of course.”

Hungary is the next obvious example that would play to Ferrari’s current strengths, as well as Singapore in early October providing that race is able to go ahead due to the pandemic.

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Sainz concurred that Monaco had been something of a unique case for the Italian squad.

“I think we have to take the special features of the track into account,” said the Spaniard.

“Even before we went there, we had a car that ran very well in the lower rev range. We managed to generate the necessary downforce. We were also pretty competitive on the short straights there, so it’s a combination of factors that come together.

“I think Mercedes and Red Bull still have an advantage over us and it will be very tricky fighting against them for pole position and victory.

“So it was a little hard to swallow at the weekend because you don’t know when the next chance will come.”

Similarly, Leclerc thinks he also spurned a golden opportunity, especially as he was unable to even try and capitalise on his pole position.

“Of course it’s difficult because it’s at home,” said the Monegasque driver, quoted by RaceFans. “It’s not every day we have the chance to be in such a good place.

“But I will try to remember all the positive signs we had. We are coming back from quite far, if we see last year, so we’ve done a good job by improving race after race.

“It might be a one-off to be fighting for the win, but that doesn’t mean there has been no progress.

“We are on a good road, we are working well. Surely the luck was not on my side at the weekend and it’s life.

“I’ll just get over it, think about Baku. I’m very motivated to be back in the car and to hopefully have a very good result.”

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