Scuderia Ferrari team principal and managing director Mattia Binotto says that everyone was treated to a show between two strong drivers in Saudi Arabia on Sunday with Charles Leclerc just losing out on taking his second win of the season to defending champion Max Verstappen. Despite this however, it was a great night under the lights for the Prancing Horse in Jeddah as they had both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on the podium and in doing so they have stretched their lead in the championship to 40 points over Mercedes in second place.
Speaking following the race, Mattia Binotto said:
This evening, we were all treated to a great show with two strong drivers fighting for the win. In the end, it didn’t go our way, but once again we were competitive. It’s been a great start to the season, with 78 points scored over the two races, out of a possible total of 88. That’s definitely a significant figure and we can be pleased about it.
Charles and Carlos both did well and were clear thinking, especially at the key moments, which helped in bringing home as many points as possible. A few incidents affected the outcome, but having said that, congratulations to Max and Red Bull who were very strong today. We move on from a positive weekend and head for the next two rounds in Melbourne and Imola, where we will try to get the most out of our car.
Charles Leclerc who qualified for the race on pole position had a great start keeping the lead and in fact he dominated the race and speaking following the event he said:
Although I’m disappointed to lose the victory so late in the race, it feels good to be fighting for wins again.
Whenever I had a bit of margin to Max (Verstappen), I could manage the race well. But after the Virtual Safety Car, as soon as he got in the DRS range, it became difficult.
He was fast in the straights and I was fast in the corners. You have to play on your strengths as much as possible when it’s this tight. I regained my position twice but the third time it did not work out. I could have possibly had another opportunity if it weren’t for the yellow flag at the end of the race, but that’s part of the game. It was a really fun battle!
I hope it stays this close for the coming races. It’s exciting to watch and to drive like this. Development will be key and we have to push hard.
For Carlos Sainz, who finished the race in third place it was a great result as he continues he points run and speaking following the race he said:
I had a very good launch at the start but I ran out of space on the right and Max got better traction on the inside line.
From then on, the race was quite straightforward, even though I would have expected to have been given back the position ahead of Checo (Perez), as I came out of pit lane ahead of him, while the Safety Car was still out. Having to wait for the restart to get back to third meant I could not try and fight for second place..
P3 is a good result and overall, this has been a fairly positive weekend, definitely better than one week ago in Bahrain. I feel we are going in the right direction with this car and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before we are fighting a bit further up the order. We have a clearer picture of where and what we need to improve and we have a direction to follow. I can’t wait to go to Australia after two years without racing there.
Speaking of Melbourne, Charles Leclerc heads Down Under with a 12 point advantage over Carlos Sainz who will be competing in Melbourne for the first time as a Ferrari driver.