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‘It’s much more calm on the pit wall’ – Vasseur explains Ferrari strategy change with everyone moving in ‘same direction’

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Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur hailed a “very strong” performance from the outfit at the Japanese Grand Prix as he noted continued progress in terms of their tyre management and race strategy.

After a low-key qualifying display, Ferrari once again emerged as Red Bull’s closest rivals in race-trim at Suzuka, with fourth-placed starter Carlos Sainz backing up his victory in Australia by following home Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez for P3.

READ MORE: Sainz thrilled with third place in Japan after making multiple overtakes during ‘tough’ race

Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, rose from eighth to fourth on an alternate, one-stop strategy, giving Ferrari another solid return and meaning they trail Red Bull by just 21 points in the constructors’ standings after four races.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 post-race, Vasseur said: “It was a very good Sunday for the team. I think we had a good recovery, the quali was a bit difficult, but we had a very strong Sunday.

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“[It was a] good strategy, good tyre management, and we were able to come back. If we want to do a better weekend we will have to improve the Saturday now.”

With Sainz and Leclerc narrowly beating McLaren rival Lando Norris to the chequered flag in Australia and Japan, Vasseur was then asked about how much of a role the strategic side is playing – and the steps Ferrari appear to have made in this area.

READ MORE: Leclerc ‘paid the price’ for poor qualifying in Japanese GP as he vows to work on struggles

“Yeah, it’s true,” he said. “But I think also part of this is the strategy, part of this is the tyre management. When you have the pace it’s always much easier to manage these kind of situations.

“I will say also this is coming with the confidence that it’s much more calm on the pit wall and it’s the best way to take the good decisions. Everything is going together on the same direction and it’s a smooth [operation].”

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Ferrari have emerged as Red Bull’s nearest challengers this season

Pushed on whether he’s taking any credit for that feeling of calmness on the pit wall, Vasseur replied: “No, no, I think that the situation, you know that [in] our business, you have to put everything together.

“When you start to go in the right direction, everybody is pushing, everybody is more calm, everybody is more confident, and the opposite when you start to have a negative spiral – it’s much more difficult.

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“We made a good step with the car during the winter, even the last part of last year I would say, but everybody is much more confident into the team, much more calm and we are doing a good job together.”

Ferrari are looking to build on a P3 finish in last year’s constructors’ standings – having been pipped to the runner-up spot by Mercedes – and challenge for their first world title since the 2008 season.

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