Ferrari pleased with car performance despite tough Japanese GP

Ferrari are pleased with the improved performance of their car, despite a difficult Japanese Grand Prix in which both of their drivers had poor starts.

The Italian squad dominated in qualifying, locking out the front row with Vettel securing pole ahead of Charles Leclerc, but both cars had a nightmare start to the race.

Vettel momentarily moved forward on the grid at the start, but avoided a penalty as it was within the acceptable tolerances, but it caused him to have a slow getaway, dropping him behind the Mercedes of Valterri Bottas.

Vettel was able to maintain second place for the remainder of the Grand Prix, although he was only able to do so after Mercedes pitted Hamilton near the end, switching the five time champion on to a two stop strategy late on.

Leclerc also had a poor start to the race, dropping down to fifth going into Turn 1, and he made contact with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen at Turn 2, whilst trying to recover some ground.

That contact eventually ended Verstappen’s race with the Red Bull suffering too much damage, while Leclerc was forced to pit to change his front wing, although he failed to pit until two laps later after debating with his team about replacing the damaged wing.

Despite suffering damage early on, Leclerc recovered to finish sixth, but was later demoted to seventh after receiving a five second penalty for contact with Verstappen and a 10 second penalty for ignoring FIA instructions to pit for a new wing.

The result meant that Mercedes clinched their sixth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, but despite the difficulties in the race, Ferrari Team Principal, Mattia Binotto felt there were positives to take away from the weekend.

“Congratulations from all of us to our rivals and friends for nailing another well-deserved Constructors’ Championship today.” commented Binotto.

‘Over the course of the season, they simply did the best job and that’s exactly what you need in this business.

“For our part, I’d like to highlight a positive aspect, namely the performance of our car, which was good enough to secure the front row in qualifying this morning – an exceptional result here at Suzuka.

“As for the race itself, we are disappointed that we did not reap the rewards of what we had sown.

“The start compromised the rest of the race, although it has to be said that our rival’s pace was very strong and we suffered more than them with tyre degradation.”