‘I was not very optimistic’: Vasseur feared the worse for Leclerc


Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur is proud of the improvement the Maranello-based outfit have made, although he recognises that they still have some way to go in order to topple Red Bull.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez completed a relatively easy 1-2 for Red Bull, with Verstappen having secured F1’s first-ever Grand Chelem. The reigning World Champion finished over 22 seconds ahead of Perez and 25 seconds ahead of Carlos Sainz in third.

Sainz showed good pace and at one point looked like he could even challenge Perez, but the RB20 was simply too strong. As for Charles Leclerc, the Monegasque made a positive start from second but quickly encountered an issue with his brakes, which he was forced to manage for the bulk of the season-opener.

Leclerc had to settle for fourth but was very frustrated afterwards. Whilst Verstappen’s advantage over Sainz was large, Vasseur pointed out that it was double the size 12 months ago, highlighting that progress has been made.

However, the Frenchman openly admits that more is needed to ensure that issues like Leclerc’s aren’t experienced.

“A bit of a mixed feeling after the race for sure, the positive is that we were able to do the pole position yesterday and we did the fastest lap of the session,” Vasseur told select media including RacingNews365.

“And we are we proud that we compensated 50% of the gap with Red Bull compared to one year ago. The negative is that it’s not enough. And that, again, too many issues during the weekend, we need to fix the issue with Charles’ brakes.

“But I think, overall, he did a very good job and also from the pitwall, because we are able to manage the situation to save P4 in these conditions. Honestly, during the first stint when I saw the situation, I was not very optimistic.”

‘Better picture’ after Melbourne

With Ferrari finishing third and fourth at the Bahrain Grand Prix, the early indicator is that they are second in the pecking order. Based on this, they are the closest rivals for Red Bull, although Vasseur at this moment in time isn’t even thinking about the Milton Keynes-based squad.

“First, I’m not focused on Red Bull, I’m focused on myself and to try to get the best from what we have,” Vasseur stressed.

“It was not completely okay for us this weekend, we had too many small issues in qualifying yesterday, the race today and also that we have to consider that Jeddah will be a complete different story.

“It’s not the same layout, not the same track. We’ll have a bit of a better picture on the global situation after Melbourne. But before Melbourne, it will be difficult to have the clear picture of the championship.”



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