Verstappen 'cheating' jibe draws stern Ferrari reply
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto launched a stern defence after Max Verstappen cheekily suggested that the Scuderia had been prevented from "cheating" at the United States GP by an FIA technical directive.
Ferrari saw a six-race run of pole positions ended in Austin, before a miserable race saw Sebastian Vettel retire and Charles Leclerc finish fourth, almost a minute behind a leading pack including Verstappen and both Mercedes.
When the red cars' struggle was put to Verstappen, he told Ziggo Sport: "That's what happens when you stop cheating," in reference to a TD issued after Red Bull proposed a fuel flow system ruled illegal, which they perhaps believe to be the cause of Ferrari's fine form since the summer break.
However, Binotto played down the severity of Ferrari's slump and lashed out at some commentary regarding the issue.
He said: "I read and I heard a lot of comments this weekend about a technical directive and the impact on our cars. I heard comments at the end of the race which I feel [are] very disappointing.
"As a matter of fact, I believe yesterday we were very close to pole position as it has been in the last race.
"I think Seb could have scored pole yesterday, but maybe was a bit too cautious in one corner.
"I think that Charles had a clear problem in the morning, losing completely FP3 and then had a downgrade on the engine we fitted on the car.
"Overall, looking at his performance in Q3 and what could have been done, without the issue in the morning, I am pretty sure that he was potentially on the pole as well.
"So, I don't see where is the problem.
"It is the type of comments that are completely wrong in the sport. It is not good for the sport and I think everybody should be a bit more cautious."
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