Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Point-less Red Bull “still the favourites” for championship – Ferrari

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Ferrari are convinced Red Bull remain a serious threat for the championship despite their rivals failing to score in the opening race of the season yesterday.

Charles Leclerc won the race from pole position but was chased all evening by Max Verstappen, who split the two Ferraris on the grid.

“I think that the others are very, very strong,” said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto on Sunday evening. “They proved to be very strong yesterday in the quali, it was really a matter of details.”

Verstappen was on course to finish second until a suspected power unit failure put him out with three laps to go. He also encountered braking and steering problems during the race.

“Today they could have been stronger, but maybe they had some reliability issues or there is something not perfect on their car from what we may understand from the radio communications,” said Binotto.

“They would have been very fast otherwise. If I look at the first stint of Max on used tyres he was keeping the pace of Charles.

“So I think we should not forget also they are the world champions. They are still the favourites. And I think what we can try to do is to do our best.

“Jeddah in a week’s time can be a completely different picture. And I think we need to wait as I always said at least four or five races to assess.”

He said the team’s start to the season went beyond their best hopes for the race after Charles Leclerc led Carlos Sainz Jnr home in Bahrain.

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“I think the one-two we were not expecting, or even not hoping for it, and finally it’s what we got,” said Binotto. “I think as we said Charles did a fantastic race, Carlos as well, it has been a bit more difficult weekend for him.”

The SF-75 is Ferrari’s first car to win a race since 2019. Binotto described it as “a good starting point” for development over the rest of the season.

“We should not forget there have been only six days of winter testing so three days per driver trying to understand, learn and adapt to the car. I think in that respect there is still much to learn and this weekend has been very useful in that respect.

“Both drivers had more opportunities because of free practice, qualifying and the race to try to learn and understand the car. We’ve got now plenty more data as well. I’m pretty sure that the next race we will start to exploit further the car. There is still potential in that car, certainly, and I think Carlos is a good example, there is more potential to extract.

“Then we need to develop the car but when you’ve got a good baseline, when they are developing, you need to make sure that whatever you are bringing to the car [improves it].

“That’s even more important now that we’ve got a budget cap. So we cannot make it wrong because we have only few opportunities for development and whatever we will do, we need to make sure that those ones are the proper and the right ones.”

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2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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35 comments on “Point-less Red Bull “still the favourites” for championship – Ferrari”

  1. We finally get rid of Toto and Lewis and their “we’re not the favourites” nonsense and in comes Ferrari to downplay their pole-position-to-win 1-2 finish.

    1. I don’t think ferrari are going to feature for the championship, by spain ferrari is 3rd quickest car. It is going to be between Max and Hamilton.

      1. Comment marked for future reference. ;-)

      2. @peartree I’ll come back around Spanish GP time to check how well or badly your prediction has aged.

        1. it could go anyway… new era, new cars with not much testing, reliability problems already for Honda powered cars. I think Mercedes will catch up with their unique concept sidepods, and will win races in less power dependent tracks as Ferrari and Honda seem to be ahead now in power

      3. What makes you think that?

    2. @sjaakfoo I think the difference from Binotto to Mercedes’ usual “we’re not the favourites” is that I think they (Ferrari) were genuinely surprised Max didn’t take the fight to them as well as they expected for the race, and I don’t think he is alone in that. But it is not like they were able to run away from Max or SP either. So unlike the seasons where Mercedes downplayed themselves only to go out and dominate, Ferrari is in no place to already be considering themselves dominant, and like many they will be expecting RBR to be strong all season.

      1. True. And so far they’re not dominating at all. -0.1sec in Quali and -5sec (cosidering the gap before VER’s last pit-stop) in the race is more like maginally better.

  2. Every time Ferrari get pole and win first race of the season they ended up as WCC.

    Yes, I believe Red Bull could getting closer but Ferrari had a better pair to win constructor championship. I just hope there would be a good fight for WDC between two or three drivers.

    1. Lets wait and see how this develops. Sure hope we get a fight between at least three drivers if Sainz gets more used to the new car. I’m also sure that RB will solve there problems and get closer but as I read between Binotto’s lines Ferrari has more up their sleeves. It will take some time for MB to solve their problems but how great will it be if we have three teams fighting for the win.

    2. “Every time Ferrari get pole and win first race of the season they ended up as WCC.”
      With an insane amount of luck, the last time it happened

  3. Everyone afraid to be cocky these days, don’t blame them.

    1. Just wanted to add, I dont know if its the rim lighting falling on the nose edges or the angle in which the photo taken, but the cars look so beautiful.

  4. IfImnotverymuchmistaken
    21st March 2022, 13:45

    Well, it’s not like LEC was leaving VER behind half a second per lap, or that Sainz could’ve overtaken VER at will. Ferrari were fastest in Bahrein, and their drivers did a great job.
    Some other track will see RB, or in time even Merc as the fastest.
    I’m just going to enjoy a season that looks as close as I’ve seen since the ’90s SCH vs Hill/VIL/HAK, and hope no team manages to break away too easily.

  5. you didnt watch many seasons since then that were closer?

  6. Perez is going to need to step up big time. Yesterday, we were at a track that suited his driving style. Yet, he was still behind Sainz who was on a bad day. If Mercedes solve their issues, I don’t see Red Bull challenging the constructors title. Sainz had a bad day yesterday, but that rarely happens to him and he will only push Leclerc. Russell and Hamilton appeared to be evenly matched on pace yesterday but their gap was exaggerated by the two running different strategies and Russell starting 9th. Ferrari and Mercedes have two drivers that are closely matched to each other. It’s not like Red Bull even care about the constructors championship though.

    1. @krichelle I think Perez is already showing signs of being closer to Max than last year, so let’s see on that.

      Sainz was on a bad day? How so?

      You speak of Mercedes solving their issues, but nothing on if RBR do as well, and the potential for them to continue to stay ahead of the likes of Mercedes who need to catch up to and try to surpass a moving target in Ferrari and RBR.

      I’m sure RBR care about the Constructors as much as any other team, and I’m sure their ultimate goal is 1-2’s for Max and SP just as that will be the goal at Ferrari and Mercedes for their two drivers. But if SP lags behind Max more than the two Ferrari drivers and the two Mercedes drivers so each other, that just gives Max the lion’s share of the points at RBR while the others split their points.

      Oh well…one race at a time. I have little doubt CL, CS, LH, and GR will not all be finishing every race this season problem free and up front.

    2. Davethechicken
      21st March 2022, 19:56

      Tend to agree regards Perez. The new cars were ways likely to equalise the gap to Max, but it is still substantial.
      I don’t rate him as a top driver, indeed I would rank 13 or 14 of the current F1 grid as better, yet he is in the WDCs car! But that is Red bulls choice!

      1. Only Sainz and Ocon were closer to their teammates in final qualifying times than Perez, fyi, given you think the gap is “substantial”. Perez also had longest streak of finishing ahead of his teammates in the championship on the grid until last season with regards your overall ranking of him. I don’t think it’s fair to judge his career based off jumping into a car designed for years for Verstappen. Very short-sighted analysis.

        1. Davethechicken
          23rd March 2022, 20:26

          Not short sighted at all. 0.3sec in the same cat is a big gap in F1. No two ways about it. Perez previous teammates were certainly not WDC material and some of whom were in F1 due to financial backing rather than absolute talent. JB the one exception, who was easily quicker. You should read JBs autobiography where he talks about SP simply being miles off his pace some weekends.
          He was sacked by his last team and is only in F1 at all as RB were in a crisis for a second driver.
          I will eat humble pie if he outpaces Max this season, but I seriously doubt he will.

      2. Probably would have him 10th, but certainly sainz seems to be competitive relative to the top guns than he is.

      3. more competitive*

    3. “Russell and Hamilton appeared to be evenly matched” – I agree, but feel a little bad for Russel as Hamilton was given preference throughout the weekend. i.e. Russel was used to give Hamilton a tow in every Quali session, the reverse never happened. I just hope they do the opposite at the next race to make it fair.

      1. @malrg Certainly with Hamilton and Bottas, Mercedes used to alternate between their drivers at each race weekend, taking it in turns to choose whether they went out first or second in qualifying. So Hamilton should return the favour in Jeddah and give Russell a nice tow throughout the session.

  7. RocketTankski
    21st March 2022, 14:04

    *taps nose*
    Course. S’all a conspiracy innit. FIAT owned Magneti Marelli, who allegedly made the fuel pump. MM owes a lot of money. Who else were FIAT involved with? Ferrari? Makes yer fink, eh!
    /s

    1. I noticed the sarcastic “/s”, but Marelli was sold by FIAT and merged with a Japanese company in 2018. :)

    2. Interesting, who would have thought about that :)
      For your tinfoil hat.. You do know all the wheelcovers are made by Redbull. So maybe we can expect someone.

  8. MM hasn’t been FIAT’s for a few years now

  9. Agree. Unlike yesterday, they were kinda dominating in 2019 Bahrain, yet their car wasn’t exactly champ material. Not dominating this year tho I hope it’s a sign their car is better overall, and suits the other tracks as much as Bahrain. We need at least 2 more races to get a better picture of the performance standings. I hope they fixed their usual tyre issues and have a positive development of the car, otherwise the season is long enough to finish it even behind Mercedes.

    1. Very true, not talking about domination at all this year, in fact I’m still a bit afraid of mercedes, they usually get on top of their problems quickly and the RB issues helped mercedes more than anyone else.

  10. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    21st March 2022, 16:36

    This is some Mercedes – level communicating. The car looked reliable and solid all around testing and it turned out to be just that in Bahrain as well.

    1. Right? I analyzed so much over the past few weeks and can only deduce that Ferrari was unquestionably the most stable & strongest team. Relaibility seems very high and the PU looks mega. Great to have Ferrari back!

  11. Can we please stop with the talk about who is favourite. Its so transparent and boring now.

    1. I will never understand comments like this. Why join the discussion on an article, just to say one does not like to discuss the topic.

      Feel free to read other topics, or play some card game, or whatever you like.

  12. So from what I saw this race, who got better and worse than last year?

    Better: ferrari, alfa romeo, haas (for these last 2 was a very significant jump)
    Similar: red bull (not counting reliability for 1 race, just performance), alpine, alpha tauri, williams, aston
    Worse: mercedes, mclaren (more significantly)

Comments are closed.