Ferrari boss: "One week ago, end of the world, we were stupid..."

Ferrari Team Principal Fred Vasseur and driver Charles Leclerc have highlighted the fickle nature of F1, comparing their previous results at Hungary and Britain to their podium finish at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Helmut Marko and Fred Vasseur
Helmut Marko and Fred Vasseur

The Scuderia were looking in a difficult position going into Spa, following back-to-back disappointing weekends. Their drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished in P9 and P10 at Silverstone, before moving up just two places respectively to P7 and P8 at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Further concern was added given the rapid improvements of McLaren, who all of a sudden appeared to be the second fastest package on the grid behind Red Bull with consecutive podium finishes. Both of their drivers were able to show better overall pace at one point or another than the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin, who previously had been in a three way fight for P2 in the Constructor’s Championship.

While McLaren still looked quick in Belgium, Ferrari were able to answer some of their doubters. Leclerc comfortably finished third in Sunday’s Grand Prix, only behind the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. The Monegasque was also granted pole position for the race, after Verstappen took a grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Speaking on the result and the previous races to Sky, Ferrari Team Principal Fred Vasseur said: “I will stay calm because we have the same talks one week ago that ‘we were at the end of the world, that McLaren was flying and we were stupid'.

“From one week to the other, McLaren are at the back and we were at the front. We have to stay calm and take it race by race. We know the pack is so tight. For sure, it’s good to finish the first part of the season on a positive.”

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Behind Red Bull, the grid has been incredibly unpredictable all season long. Aston Martin were in a great position at the start of the year, but go into the break seemingly behind McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes in terms of pace. Vassuer insisted his team need to find consistency to better understand their issues going forward: “We are all a bit inconsistent because there is just one or two tenths between P2 and P11.

“It means characteristics, tyre management or level of downforce you chose at the beginning of the weekend, you can’t draw any definitive conclusions. I think it will be like this until the end of the season. We have to be more consistent to understand why we are weak.”

Meanwhile, Leclerc spoke on the importance of getting the team back on the podium for the first time since April, when he also finished third behind the Red Bulls in Baku: “It’s really important. It gives me and the guys at the factory and the track a smile to go into the summer break with a race like this.

“It’s not a completely happy face because we are still very far from Red Bull and this is our target. On the other hand, after such a difficult first part of the season, it’s good to finish this half that way.”

He also touched upon the contrast between the two previous races and the improvement on display in Belgium. While his teammate Sainz was forced to retire from the Grand Prix following a turn 1 incident with Oscar Piastri, the Spaniard also showed more pace over the Spa weekend, and was within half a tenth of Verstappen in the Sprint Shootout.

“I think something interesting we should look into is our competitiveness from Budapest to Belgium”, added Leclerc.

“Before these two races, I would have bet that Budapest would suit our track most. If you look at the two races, we were much stronger in Belgium than Budapest. This is what we need to understand in order to maximise our package in every race for the second half of the season because maybe we didn’t understand that there. 

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