Vasseur “a bit frustrated” as he feels Scuderia Ferrari could have won F1 Imola GP if they started from pole

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
Spread the love

Ferrari had a pretty good weekend on home soil as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished P3 and P5 in the Imola Grand Prix.

Leclerc finished 7.9s away from race winner Max Verstappen in the 63-lap contest as Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull were very close on pace in Sunday’s race.

Speaking post-race, Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur says the fine margins in both qualifying and the race is great news for the sport.

“It’s good news for me, good news F1, good news for the championship.

“You have 3 teams in 7 seconds after 70 laps. It’s less than 1 tenth a lap.

“It was almost the same from the beginning of the weekend.”

The Frenchman was left with mixed emotions, nonetheless. He feels Ferrari could have taken a win if they had more speed in qualifying.

Leclerc was P4 on Saturday, 0.224s off pole.

“Overall, it’s a kind of mixed feeling for me because I think that we did a step forward. McLaren did probably the same as us.

“We compensated, I think, partly the delta with Red Bull and we are not far away.

“Now I’m a bit frustrated because I think that if we do 1-2 in quali, we do 1-2 in the race today.

“If we miss something, it was yesterday in quali and not today in the race.”

Leclerc had been putting pressure on Lando Norris but took a trip across the grass at the last chicane on the lap with 16 laps to go. He dropped out of DRS and Norris pulled away in the closing laps, almost getting Verstappen in the process.

Vasseur believes tyre overheating was a problem for anyone who was very close behind another car in the race.

“He went a little bit straight into the chicane [laughs].

“He lost a little bit the momentum. I think he lost 1 second or something like this, and you are out of the DRS.

“I think at this stage he probably overheated the tyres a little bit when he was pushing behind Lando.

“I think it was the same for everybody. You were pushing and closing the gaps 3 laps, then overheating.

“Then the other one was pushing, but we were all in the same shape.”

In his post-race interview, Carlos Sainz mentioned he had some issues with the car that got spotted by the team after qualifying.

This was something Vasseur played down, explaining that all drivers had issues as the top 5 drivers proved to be extremely close through most of Friday and Saturday, before Verstappen, Norris and Leclerc showed superiority in the Grand Prix this afternoon.

“Every single bit that you can have in this kind of weekend, when you have 5 or 6 [drivers] in two tenths, for sure that every single issue that you can have [avoid] is crucial. But I think everybody had issues.

“I think nobody after the quali lap said I had the lap of my life and I had no issues and the balance was perfect.

“It’s not good to have issues, but it’s good to understand what’s happened and when we have to work, we will do it honestly.”

With Piastri pitting on lap 24 to switch to the hards, McLaren used the undercut to jump Sainz.

As track position had been lost, Ferrari hoped to extend the first stint with their Spanish driver to create a tyre offset towards the end of the race.

However, Russell’s earlier stop forced them to cover the Mercedes off as he was within striking range to undercut the 29-year-old.

Imola is one of the most difficult tracks to pass on and not dropping behind the Brit through the pit sequence was what they focused on in the end.

“Yeah, we thought about it [extending]. It was initially the plan.

“The issue is that I think Russell and Hamilton pitted [the seven-time World Champion boxed on the same lap as Sainz].

“Then if you lose position in this kind of track, I think it’s even difficult to overtake the Mercedes with the same tyres.

“But it was quite easy to overtake Perez and Stroll. We had the advantage of the tyres because they were with the first set.

“But if you are behind someone, even when they are 4 or 5 tenths slower, you can spend your life there.”