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Ferrari's Binotto jokes: We're lucky the race was only 44 laps!

Ferrari's Binotto jokes: We're lucky the race was only 44 laps!

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Ferrari's Binotto jokes: We're lucky the race was only 44 laps!

Ferrari's Binotto jokes: We're lucky the race was only 44 laps!

Ferrari team boss Mattio Binotto joked that he was relieved that the Belgian Grand Prix only lasted 44 laps, as Charles Leclerc held off a late challenge from Lewis Hamilton to seal his maiden victory.

Leclerc had been allowed to move through into the lead by team-mate Sebastian Vettel midway through the race, but in the closing stages Hamilton found real pace and begun to eat into Leclerc's lead.

Just a second split the drivers as they passed the chequered flag, as Ferrari picked up their first win of the campaign, and Leclerc's first in F1.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the race, Binotto said: "Lewis Hamilton was having very fast lap times and it was important somehow to keep the distance to him.

"Lucky for us the race was only 44 laps! I think it's important as the first win for Charles, and it won't be the last one."

Vettel performed an admirable task for his team-mate, holding up Hamilton just long enough to ensure that Leclerc could emerge victorious.

Binotto commented on the relationship between the drivers, and added that the team always comes first.

He said: "We said at the start of the season that team points come first. Charles drove very fast the entire weekend.

"We had to protect the position against the Mercedes. We had no choice at the time. I think Sebastian has been very helpful for Charles today and it's good for the team spirit."

Monza, Ferrari's home race, is next weekend and Binotto is sure that Ferrari can enjoy a similar performance.

He concluded: "We know that Monza is long straights and speed is required, I still think our pace here has shown that we can be competitive."

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