Momentum with Ferrari in Mercedes F1 battle for second place
Ferrari are now just four points behind the Brackley-based team, having picked up a further 16 points in Las Vegas, helped by Charles Leclerc’s last-lap pass to take second place ahead of Sergio Perez.
Carlos Sainz backed his team-mate to sixth place, after the Spaniard overcame a grid penalty and a first-lap spin to add eight points to the team’s run.
Given the high stakes in terms of status and share of prize money, the battle for second place in the constructors’ table will add an additional dimension to the Abu Dhabi season finals.
“If we consider that we were 60 points behind them two races ago, we are on a good path,” Vasseur said. “But Abu Dhabi will be another story, four points is nothing or a lot.
“Once again we were able to perform at Monza, Singapore and Mexico this weekend on different tracks with different weather conditions and different vehicles, and we can be very excited before Abu Dhabi. The momentum is there for us, and let’s see what happens.”
Photography: Mark Sutton/Motorsport Images
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari
Vasseur admitted there were mixed feelings in the camp after Leclerc led the Las Vegas race, as the safety after his stop did him no favors.
“Definitely from our side, it’s a strange feeling,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com to summarize Saturday evening. “You finish first, pass Red Bull three times in the race, and finish second. This is not usual!
“But I also think the safety car timing was the worst-case scenario for us, four laps after we stopped. Well, it is what it is.
“Charles did a very good job. But even Carlos, and if you look at Thursday’s story, the FP1 story, plus the incident in Turn 1, he was P20 or P18, and he was coming back P6. For us overall, it’s a good weekend ”
Vasseur admitted he did not think Leclerc would be able to pass Perez on the final lap.
“It was on the limit!” “He said. ‘But the previous lap, at one point I said the lap before we tried to do it, but I had a gap in the dash (pit wall), and I said ‘wow, no, it’s too far’, it’s too far. But the lap after… ..
“I was a little surprised, maybe less so than Chico! But it was a very good move and I think he was very excited to do it.”
Vasseur admitted that Ferrari had done a good job managing the tires in Las Vegas, where low temperatures saw drivers struggle to get heat into their Pirelli cars, but stressed that the performance was not a one-off.
“This has also been the case on some other occasions. But again, with almost nothing, you can (go) the wrong way now on the tyres, it’s not very easy whether you have to exert energy or not,” he said. In tires.
“It’s difficult for everyone, and maybe a little less so for Red Bull during the season. If you take a look, they were performing in all conditions, but for the other teams, the performance was a bit mixed. But we will try to stay ahead.”
He added: “If you look at Mercedes, last week (in Brazil) they were not at all on tire management and they had a good race this weekend.
“From track to track, boat to boat, it’s a different story. Conditions today were very cold compared to the rest of the season. And we had good management.
“I think that was actually the case, not in the last race, but a couple of races ago. But it’s always on the edge in terms of tire management.”