Vasseur admits Ferrari left with “mixed feelings” after Leclerc’s brake issues in F1 Bahrain GP

Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari
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Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur admitted that the season opener in Bahrain left the team with mixed feelings.

On a positive note, Ferrari appear to be in a better position than they were after their shaky Bahrain outing this time last year. 

By all accounts they were the second force behind Red Bull on Saturday, though the feat was soured by the feeling that their effort was “not enough.” Carlos Sainz finished third, joining the Red Bull duo to claim Ferrari’s first podium of the season, while Charles Leclerc came home fourth after nursing a brake issue throughout the race. 

Leclerc didn’t hide his disappointment as the issue prevented him from fighting for a second place that seemed well within reach.

“You can say, a bit of a mixed feeling after the race for sure,” Vasseur said after the race.

“The positive is that we were able to do the pole position yesterday. We did the fastest lap of the [Q2] session.

Although Verstappen remained untouchable in the race, Sainz’s gap to him was nearly halved compared to last year’s deficit, going down from 48s to 25.1s, which Vasseur acknowledged as a positive. 

“And perhaps we compensated for 50% of the gap with Red Bull in the race compared to one year ago because we were at 50 something seconds in the race. 

“The negative is that it’s not enough, and that we had again too many issues during the weekend, but we need to fix the issue on Charles’s car with the brakes.”

Vasseur praised Leclerc for effectively managing the problem, saying: “I think overall he did a very good job, and then from the pitwall also, because we were able to manage the situation to save P4 in these conditions.

“Honestly, during the first stint when I saw the situation, I was not very optimistic.”

He added that the exact cause of the issue is still unknown.

“No, we don’t know yet.

“The car is still in parc fermé but we had a huge delta of temperature between left and right. He was pulling on the braking and locking, and it was very difficult to fix it.

“At one stage it came back when he was in the slipstream of someone that the brakes switched on […] and the last part of the race was okay.”

Vasseur dismissed the idea that the issue stemmed from a brake duct change carried out on Leclerc’s car prior to the start of the race: “No, it has nothing to do with this.”