After a disappointing performance in qualifying, Ferrari failed to mount a fightback on Sunday, with Carlos Sainz finishing nearly a full minute behind winner Max Verstappen in fifth, one place ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc

Ferrari lagged well behind their F1 rivals Red Bull and Mercedes in Mexico, with Sainz ending up nearly 10 seconds adrift of George Russell despite the Mercedes driver making an extra pit stop to claim the fastest lap bonus point. 

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Team principal Mattia Binotto admitted Ferrari were “not expecting” to struggle as much as they did. 

“It has been certainly a very difficult weekend,” he explained. “I think already yesterday in quali, quite behind the pole position when normally we are quite competitive. 

“In the race, it simply emphasised the fact we were not comfortable with the track this weekend. Our overall performance has not been great, no doubt, off the pace in the race.

“In terms of power unit, we were not at our best performance for the weekend, but I don't think that that's explaining the most. 

“That’s part of the equation, but there is more than that. There is certainly more than that, and it's something which we need to look at and there is not a clear answer right now

“The ride was not great, the balance was not great. I'm pretty sure if I'm listening at the drivers later on in the debriefing, they will tell me that the car was not turning and the reason why I think it has to be looked at and we have not a clear explanation right now.”

Ferrari’s sub-par display led to suspicions in the paddock that the Italian outfit had turned down their power units amid reliability concerns at the high-altitude venue. 

Leclerc experienced a “strange” engine issue on Saturday, which he blamed for only qualifying seventh on the grid. 

Binotto confirmed Ferrari did not run their engines at full power in Mexico City. 

“It’s true that in terms of turbo, we are not as efficient, or, let me say, we didn’t have the capacity to run maximum power here,” he admitted. 

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Leclerc, whose weekend started on the back foot with a heavy FP2 crash, said he is hopeful Ferrari’s poor performance will prove to be a one-off after describing it as “one of the worst races” of 2022 along with the Belgian Grand Prix. 

“It was incredibly difficult, we were just so slow, so yeah, we need to look into it,” Leclerc said. 

“We were in the middle of nowhere. With Carlos, we were way slower compared to the Mercedes and Red Bull, [but] much quicker than the midfield. So we were on our own, just a very lonely race.

“There wasn't much we could have done more to be honest today.”

He continued: “I hope we won't be worse than this, because I don't expect any race worse than this.

“It's probably one of the worst races, together with Spa, this one. I honestly believe that it is a one off.

“But for the future, we need to understand what we can do better in those conditions for us to be better.”

Sainz stressed Ferrari know the reason for their struggles, though he was coy about the details. 

“Unfortunately the pace wasn’t there for us this weekend,” the Spaniard conceded. 

“Analysing back this weekend we clearly didn’t have the pace of the top four this weekend. We know why, which is the positive thing. 

“We needed a bit more of a chaotic race and nothing really happened. We did a good race from my side, a good pace, but P5 was the maximum.”

Binotto is optimistic that Ferrari, who now sit just 40 points clear of Mercedes in the battle for second place in the F1 2022 constructors' standings, will return to their usual levels of competitiveness at the final two races of the season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. 

“I don’t think it’s the same trend, because in Singapore was competitive, Japan not too bad, USA good quali - so I think here has been a lot more difficult,” he said.

“I’m hoping that it’s not a trend, but an outstanding weekend for us. 

“First we try to analyse what is going on and what has been the main issues in Mexico and try to to be back competitive, for what is our level of competitiveness at least, for the last two races.”