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.
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