Much more performance to come from Ferrari in France, says Binotto
On paper, Friday in France appeared slightly disappointing for Ferrari, with the team ending up over six-tenths adrift of Mercedes in Free Practice 2 – and having had their request for a review of Sebastian Vettel’s Canadian Grand Prix penalty denied to boot. However, Team Principal Mattia Binotto believes the Scuderia will still have plenty to say this weekend...
Valtteri Bottas led FP2 for Mercedes with a lap of 1m 30.937s. And while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was the Silver Arrows’s closest rival in the session, his best effort was 0.649s adrift of the Finn’s time, with Sebastian Vettel less than a tenth further back. Binotto, however, appeared unmoved by the timesheets.
“Today, [Mercedes] seem to be certainly stronger,” he said. “But the weekend is not over. I think there is a lot of data that we may look at this evening, tyre management not yet optimised – far to be easy, but I'm pretty sure that there is still much performance to be found out and I think that even the track itself will develop through the weekend.”
I think only tomorrow after quali will we understand the true relative performance between the cars
Analysing where Ferrari were losing time compared to Mercedes, Binotto made a comparison with the teams’s respective performances at Barcelona, where Mercedes qualified over eight-tenths faster than Ferrari.
“I think again we are okay on the first two sectors,” he said. “We are suffering on the last one, very similar to Barcelona… which is not unexpected.
“[But] let's see how the track will evolve, how we may optimise our package. I think only tomorrow after quali we may understand the true relative performance between the cars.”
Ferrari spent Friday testing various parts, including new front and rear wings and modified brake ducts which the team have opted to keep on the car. And according to Leclerc, the effect of the new bits and pieces on the SF90 had felt good from behind the wheel.
“It’s quite soon to say,” said the Monegasque at the end of FP2. “We need a bit more data. But one thing is for sure – the sensation was quite positive today. We'll see tomorrow.”
Ferrari would dearly love a reversal of fortunes to come in France, with the team currently 123 points behind Mercedes in the constructors’ standings, having failed to win a race so far in 2019.