What we saw in Mexico was a two-faced Ferrari: the car was disappointing, the team very encouraging. The result from a sporting point of view was merciless not so much for the position of Charles Leclerc, fifth, and Carlos Sainz, sixth, however behind the excellent Pierre Gasly with the AlphaTauri, as for the gap remedied by the reds towards the winner Max Verstappen: one minute and 21 seconds.
A lot of stuff, but on a gray day Ferrari hit an important goal: the Scuderia moves into third position in the Constructors’ championship, overtaking McLaren by 17.5 points, giving consistency to a comeback that has materialized in the last few races with the introduction of the new hybrid system on the 065/6 engine.
But the Mexican overtaking materialized because McLaren did much worse than Ferrari with Lando Norris only tenth after changing the power unit which cost him a penalty at the back of the grid and Daniel Ricciardo author of a violent rear-end collision with Valtteri Bottas at the first. corner (not punished) in which he destroyed the nose before sliding to the rear after the substitution in the garage.
“It went worse than I thought – admits Mattia Binotto sincerely -, maybe it was I who was optimistic, because I thought I was closer to the best in this race, demonstrating that we need to get on the track to find out if the conditions are different. from what they imagined. We went a little worse than I hoped for and what were the last few races. And the fact that Gasly was in front of us is another sign ”.
Leclerc far behind and Sainz finished doubled …
“If we hadn’t slowed down Carlos maybe we wouldn’t have finished in a lap: I wouldn’t put it that way. However, it is true that compared to Hamilton’s Mercedes we had an average delay of eight tenths per lap, a gap that had been a bit smaller in the last few races ”.
What did it depend on? On Friday, in free practice, the lack of downforce emerged and the S21s were loaded more aerodynamically, but the substance did not change much, because the Ferraris are among the cars that have suffered the most from tire degradation. Not being able to increase the vertical thrust, the mechanical part went into crisis: the suspensions were unable to transfer the necessary temperature to the tires to bring them into the right operating window.
We saw graining appearing on Leclerc’s front which resulted in a sharp drop in performance, while the loss recorded by Red Bull and Mercedes was much more marginal. It is evident that the SF21 has not adapted to the slippery Mexican surface, but it is equally evident that in the absence of grip the congenital defects of the red emerge that cannot be erased like a swipe.
One wonders where Ferrari would be without the new hybrid system which has proved to be a real boon. Since the two drivers have had it, that is to say from Turkey, we observe that the gap from the leaders has gradually increased: 37 seconds in Istanbul which became 52 in Austin and increased to 1 minute and 21 seconds in Mexico.
As top speeds are much improved, the power unit evo was only a positive asset, while the car exhibits a steep curve that should make you think. And the conquest of third place, therefore, is to be ascribed to the qualities of the hybrid that prefigures the 2022 system. Without what would have happened?
As Tsunoda takes off on Schumacher’s Haas, Sainz doesn’t hesitate to mow the grass to avoid surprises …
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
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