Binotto feels Sochi highlighted Ferrari ‘progress’

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari took a step forward at the Russian Grand Prix, at least they did according to team boss Mattia Binotto.

Charles Leclerc raced his way from 11th to sixth while his team-mate Sebastian Vettel, used as a moving bollard to hold up the Renaults, was P13.

Leclerc’s result was Ferrari’s best performance in five races.

Binotto has hailed the progress.

He told Speedweek: “If I were to sum up the weekend in one sentence, I would say that is progress. At least compared to the previous races.

“We were able to improve in terms of competitiveness and race results.

“Charles has shown a solid run to sixth place, he made almost everything we could. He was very aggressive at the start and then showed a very mature performance.

“Sebastian unfortunately got stuck in traffic in the key moments.”

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The Italian reckons the updates Ferrari brought to the Russian Grand Prix, while not massive, are a step in the right direction.

He added: “The aerodynamic improvements that we brought to Sochi weren’t radical in terms of performance, but they point the way in the right direction when it comes to vehicle development.

“When the gaps are so small in midfield, it doesn’t take much to make up places.

“We have to continue this trend in the upcoming race at the Nürburgring.”

As for Leclerc, the Monégasque driver was “surprised” by Ferrari’s improvement.

“It was a pretty good race for us,” said Leclerc. “I was definitely surprised.

“On Friday I didn’t drive well, I did quite a bad job in the car, especially in the race simulation with tyres and pace. I degraded a lot of the tyres and the pace was just not there, so I didn’t expect to do such a jump today.

“Today the pace was a bit better but most of all I think I improved massively on my tyre management, which was a good thing to see.

“I had a pretty bad start, lost quite a lot of positions on the run to Turn 1 but then took them back and from then on the performance was very good, so happy with today. P6 was definitely the best we could do.”

Despite scoring points in Russia, Ferrari remains sixth in the Constructors’ Championship with its points tally up to 74.

That’s 25 fewer than Renault in P5.

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