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Binotto regrets 'missed opportunities' for Ferrari in 2019

Binotto regrets 'missed opportunities' for Ferrari in 2019

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Binotto regrets 'missed opportunities' for Ferrari in 2019

Binotto regrets 'missed opportunities' for Ferrari in 2019

Mattia Binotto says Ferrari could have won the Japanese Grand Prix if not for the bad start of both drivers, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, and believes the race will go down as another missed opportunity for the team this season.

Vettel started on pole, but was on the backfoot immediately after a ‘false start’ saw him move off the line, stop, and start again, which allowed Valtteri Bottas to overtake from the second row. Leclerc, meanwhile, collided with Max Verstappen, causing the cars of both drivers significant damage.

Whether the incidents can be labelled as bad luck, bad strategy, or bad driver performance, they represent mistakes which have cost Ferrari another race win, according to Binotto.

“We missed many opportunities this season, and we did today. We need to, as a team, be stronger and to somehow achieve the level of performance we are showing,” the Ferrari team principal said at Suzuka.

“I think that their [Mercedes] pace in the race was faster. Vettel was ahead of Hamilton - was ahead at the first lap and was ahead at the end of the race - and if you are ahead it is difficult for the one behind to overtake or with strategies. with a normal start, I think we could have won.”

Stewards will look at the collision between Leclerc and Verstappen to see if the former was at fault, which could potentially lead to a time penalty and the loss of places.

Verstappen furious with 'irresponsible' Leclerc following Japan GP crashRead more

Binotto is of the opinion that his driver didn’t intentionally refuse to give the Dutchman room, but that Ferrari will take any punishment on the chin.

“We'll accept whatever the stewards decide,” he added.

“The first corner is very difficult. I don't think what Charles did was really on purpose.”

With Bottas winning and Lewis Hamilton finishing third, Mercedes recorded enough points to win their sixth constructors’ championship in a row.

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