Ferrari Formula 1 team principal Mattia Binotto says his side was fully aware of the risks it was taking after admitting it “screwed up” during Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying.

In an attempt to make the most of improving track conditions and compensate for its pace deficit to rivals Mercedes and Red Bull in the final sector at Yas Marina, Ferrari elected to wait until the last moment to send its drivers out for a final Q3 run.

But both drivers got caught up in traffic, with Sebastian Vettel inadvertently holding up teammate Charles Leclerc to the point he ran out of time to complete a final flying lap.

Leclerc and Vettel set the fourth and fifth-fastest times - some four-tenths off the pace - but will move up to the second row after Valtteri Bottas’ engine penalty is applied.

“We were not too competitive today, especially losing a lot of time in the last sector,” Binotto told Sky.

“I think on the last attempt we tried to do whatever we could to take some risks, as well with the track improvement, so being the last going out of the garage.

“We knew it was already tight but that was a conscious choice but it was too tight with the traffic we found and we screwed up.

“I think here we were completely aware and conscious of what could have been the risks. So it was a risk we knew that we were taking but it didn’t work today.”

Leclerc stressed Ferrari must analyse the incident and learn from it after calling the mix up “a big shame”.

“I have no idea what happened but it’s life and sometimes it happens,” he added.

“I don’t whether the situation was unlucky or whether we could have done anything better, but we will analyse it and try to understand for it to not happen again because it’s a big shame.”

Vettel, who ended up over a tenth down on his teammate, felt the situation was exacerbated due to facing slow cars in front of him.

“Alex [Albon] was backing up because he had a McLaren in front of him,” Vettel explained.

“I don’t know who was in front of the McLaren or whether the McLaren could be closer. I don’t think that’s the point of the exercise either.

“It was just a pity because my tyres were very cold to start with and I lost it in the first corner and Charles didn’t even start the lap.”

 

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