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Vasseur feels Ferrari’s success in Australia shows Red Bull can make mistakes under pressure

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Frederic Vasseur is hopeful that Ferrari can push Red Bull into more problems as the season develops after storming to a one-two finish at the Australian Grand Prix following Max Verstappen’s early retirement.

Verstappen retired from the Albert Park race after just three laps due to a brake issue developing on his RB20, having been pushed by the returning Carlos Sainz for pole position and then harried by his SF-24 when the lights went out.

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In Verstappen’s absence, Ferrari took the full reward as Sainz claimed a memorable victory – just 16 days after surgery for appendicitis – and team mate Charles Leclerc backed him up in second position.

Asked what the achievement does for Ferrari’s confidence, team boss Vasseur said: “[It’s] is a huge part of the results of this business and I think we are building up the confidence over the last month, and it was already the case in the last part of the season last year.

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“It is already the case this weekend that when we are putting everything together… we have good evidence that when we are putting everything together – and I don’t think we’ll be able to do it every week – we can put them [Red Bull] under pressure, and when they are under pressure they can make mistakes, so we need to continue in this direction.

“We are much more confident that we can manage on these kind of developments because on Lap 1, Day 1 we were there, we are performing. It was all quite smooth and we are confident we are developing the best car for the [full season].”

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The Frenchman was also pushed on why the performance gap between Red Bull and Ferrari shifted so much around the streets of Melbourne, compared to the first two rounds in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

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Ferrari put the pressure on Red Bull in Australia before making the most of Verstappen’s DNF

“I’m not focused at all on the performance of Red Bull, I’m focused on the performance of our car,” he asserted in response, before opening up on some of the areas Ferrari have improved year-on-year.

“We made a step forward [overall]. Perhaps on the base of one lap it’s true, we were nowhere last year when you compare to one lap pace, [and] we have made a huge step.

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“I think it’s more the consistency between the two [tyre] compounds [in the race], between one stint and the other one, the car feels much easier to drive, to follow drivers and, by the way, much easier to develop, and it’s the biggest step we did compared to last year.”

Ferrari’s one-two finish in Australia was their first since the 2022 season opener in Bahrain, while the Scuderia are now just four points away from leaders Red Bull in the constructors’ standings.

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