RACE DEBRIEF

    Ferrari have not sparkled across pre-season testing and earlier this week they denied they were sandbagging. Speaking on the final day of testing, team boss Mattia Binotto admitted their form is the reality – and that it’s a case of the whole package, rather than a single area, that needs improving ahead of the season…

    Sebastian Vettel set the pace on the penultimate day of testing, but headline times are largely meaningless, given teams are running different tyre compounds, aero configurations and fuel loads – 10kg of fuel can account for three or four-tenths of time.

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    The general perception is Ferrari are off the impressive pace set by Mercedes. When asked which areas of the car are causing the most concern, Binotto said: “The overall performance needs to be improved –power unit, even set-up – so I don’t think there is a single area where we need to focus but all the areas.”

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    Throughout the test, Ferrari have been downplaying their expectations – having impressed so much in testing last year and then disappointing when the season got going – but Binotto says they have not been doing that as a ploy.

    “I don’t think it is to relieve pressure,” he said. “When you’re not going as fast as you would like or you should, you get the pressure. As Ferrari, we only have one objective. If you are not reaching it, you cannot be relieved.

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    “We’re not playing games, this is our true performance at the moment. How good or bad it is, it’s only after the first three races we will have a clearer picture. The pressure is there. The pressure should be seen as a motivation, not a drama.”

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    According to our data, Ferrari – who ran a different front wing this week that had a bit less downforce than the iteration used in Week 1 – have had a deficit to their rivals in terms of top speed.

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    Binotto, though, said such data was expected. “When you’re speaking about delta speed, it’s all relative to the others,” he said. “We are where we thought we’d be. We knew we had put a lot of drag, we knew the power unit performance, so that is the speed we were expecting. The others are a lot faster on the straights, that is the situation.”

    Ferrari ended the final day of testing fourth with Charles Leclerc 0.164s off the pace set by Valtteri Bottas, and an impressive 181 laps on the board.

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