Ferrari’s fight with McLaren “not over yet” as lead grows again in Qatar

2021 Qatar Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Ferrari aren’t taking third place in the constructors’ championship for granted despite extending their lead over closest rivals McLaren in Qatar.

Carlos Sainz Jnr and Charles Leclerc only finished seventh and eighth at Losail International Circuit, but finished ahead of both McLaren drivers. Lando Norris was running ahead of the pair until his suffered a puncture in the second half of the race.

Ferrari trailed McLaren by 17.5 points after Sochi but now lead their rivals by 39.5 points, having out-scored them in each of the last five races. With just two races remaining, Ferrari has a strong chance of beating their rivals to third place in the constructors championship, achieving the pre-season target set by team principal Mattia Binotto.

However he remains wary of a potential reversal by McLaren, who bagged 45 points in a single weekend with a shock-one two in the Italian Grand Prix.

“I believe the championship is not over yet,” said Binotto. “There are two races to go and we are focusing and trying to do the best in the last one.”

However he is pleased by the turnaround the team has made since its dismal 2020 campaign. “No doubt if I look at where we were last year, sixth, very little points in the championship, I think we we made the most we could do with the current regulation where most of the car was closed and very limited opportunities of development, as well as the budget cap.

“In 2021 we have to put priorities on 2022 to develop instead 2021. So overall, I think that the team has made great progress for what was possible to do for that, and so I’m happy because yes, the third position is a great output of the effort.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 Qatar Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 Qatar Grand Prix articles

8 comments on “Ferrari’s fight with McLaren “not over yet” as lead grows again in Qatar”

  1. Rather than Mclaren, they need to think about their own speed and strategy.
    Ferrari were only the 5th fastest team today, comfortably behind Mclaren and Alpine. They also let Stroll in the Aston Martin undercut Sainz.

    Add to that the chassis crack which compromised Leclerc. Can you imagine an error as stark as that ever affecting Red Bull or Mercedes! Look at Red Bull this weekend. They were proactive in identifying the flapping wing, tried to fix it, and as a backup even replaced it with a different one. That is the level of precision and planning required to stay at the top.

    1. If it wasn’t for the virtual safety car at the closing laps… Ferrari could have gotten or attempted an overtake on Stroll or Ocon or both in the closing stages. That group was close together and that virtual safety car really killed that four car battle. Stroll pitted significantly early and Ferrari was probably going for better pace over track position for the end.

      As far as the crack… that happened in qualifying as Leclerc said that the car was just not the same from FP3 and was at a loss as to why. So to say that is on Ferrari not being “proactive” in stopping that from happening and that it would not have happened to either Redbull nor Mercedes is bit off in my view.

      Ferrari was definitely not on pace this weekend but this is also not a track that fits their cars characteristics as this track has lots of medium to high speed corners and a long straight.

  2. I reckon Ferrari will keep P3 until the end unless something extraordinary happens.
    A nearly-40 point deficit in two races is close to uncatchable for a midfield team.

    1. I doubt we’ll see another Monza performance from McLaren. Looks like the two are pretty closely matched but Ferrari have shown more consistency with both drivers all season.

  3. Next year Sainz rebuilds Ferrari.

  4. Both Ferrari drivers are getting awfully close to Norris in the drivers championship as well.

  5. This fight is over.

  6. It’s pretty amazing how Ferrari have turned 2021 around after 2020, given the small scope for changes to the car and the budget cap. Bodes well for 2022.

Comments are closed.