Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has poured cold water on Lewis Hamilton’s claim that his team are “several months ahead” and joked that he suspects Mercedes are the ones in front.
After a couple of years to forget for the Scuderia, it seems Ferrari fans finally have reasons to be optimistic ahead of the 2022 season with the F1-75 impressing in Barcelona.
The new car proved to be one of the most reliable – Ferrari completed the most laps at 439 – and one of the quickest with Charles Leclerc topping the timesheets on day two of the three-day shakedown.
The improvement had others in the paddock predicting big things for Ferrari with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton suggesting they could be a couple months ahead of the competition.
“You would assume that Ferrari perhaps didn’t do much development on [the 2021] car and just put everything into this year’s car,” Hamilton said after the opening day of running at the Circuit de Catalunya, quoted by f1i.com
“Does that mean that they’re several months ahead? Or a team is several months ahead? We’ll wait and see.”
However, team boss Binotto laughed off the suggestion and predicted it would Mercedes ahead come the first race in Bahrain.
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“I’m pretty sure that they will be two or three months ahead of us by the time we will be in Bahrain!” joked Binotto when speaking to Sky Sports.
“I think that it’s very difficult today to judge the performance and the relative competitiveness between the teams.
“What was important for us was to collect data here, and I think we can be somehow satisfied with the amount of laps we did. [Everything] will be analysed back in Maranello.”
The easing of expectations was a thought shared by his driver Leclerc who said it was “always nice to see yourselves P1, but it doesn’t mean anything.”
“I’m feeling reasonably good,” Leclerc told Formula1.com.
“I mean, we’ve done all the tests that we’ve wanted to do, which was the most important thing we wanted to do during this test – doing as much mileage as we could – and we did, without major problems.
“So it’s a positive first test for this, and in terms of performance, nothing to say for now.”
“On the other hand, I think we are working harder than ever to just try and keep our heads down. It’s of course always nice to see yourselves P1, but it doesn’t mean anything… I think everyone is aware of this in the team.
“So, yes, we are not really focusing on the performance at all; we are just focusing on ourselves. Now we are already focused on Bahrain.”
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