Charles Leclerc stormed to his second straight F1 pole in Baku and, unlike in Monaco, he was able to contest the race.

The Monegasque initially held onto his lead before being passed by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as Ferrari struggled for race pace, though Leclerc was still able to claim a strong fourth at the chequered flag.

Teammate Carlos Sainz qualified fifth but crossed the line in eighth in what ended up being a recovery drive following a costly error that saw him shoot down the Turn 8 escape road early on.

“It was not the best race from us,” said Binotto on Sunday evening in Baku. “I think we were expecting something better after the quali, because it has been a difficult race.

“We have not been perfect in many areas and I think overall the result is what it is, but as usual it may be a lesson learned. There are things we can improve, I’m sure of that.”

Binotto conceded that Ferrari’s scintillating one-lap pace in Monaco and Baku - two unique street circuits where the SF21 excelled thanks to its slow-speed corner strength - was not a true representation of the car’s performance, having acknowledged that Red Bull and Mercedes are still faster.

“I think obviously there are two cars ahead of us which are still stronger, no doubt," Binotto explained. 

“It was great to have pole position both in Monaco and here in Baku, but I don’t think that is reflecting our true performance overall. So I think there are two cars which are stronger. But I think we are progressing.

“We are progressing because eventually we are learning the cars, we are exploiting it better compared to the start of the season. And we know that there will be some developments coming in the future.

“So overall, I think that’s where we are. Today we were hoping for a better pace overall, seeing the qualy of yesterday.”

Despite Binotto’s disappointment in the end result, it was enough to see Ferrari leapfrog McLaren into third place in the constructors’ championship for the first time this season.

“Overall, it’s still a good weekend and we should keep our heads up and [be] positive,” he added. “We had made a pole yesterday, which I think was outstanding. Second pole in a row, showing the progress of the team and the car.

“Finally we are third in constructors’ championship, since the restart of the season, it never happened. It’s only by two points but it shows we are progressing. I think there are positives from the weekend but certainly again, as I said, things to be learned.

“Now we have three races in a row in the next weeks, which will be important. So certainly the team will remain focused, concentrated and fighting to get better in the future.”

 

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