Mattia Binotto has predicted a long and tight fight for F1's big prizes in 2022, with Ferrari set to share both the front and second row with Red Bull for Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc put his F1-75 on pole position for the opening round of F1's new era, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen slotting alongside him in second.
Carlos Sainz qualified in third, just over a tenth behind teammate Leclerc, with Sergio Perez placing fourth, while the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton will start in fifth, keen to get in on the fight.
Binotto: It's great to be at the front
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after qualifying, Binotto said: "It's great! It's great to be there. We know it has been very tough.
"I think it was very tight and it will be very tight for the entire season, hopefully.
"It's great to see the new cars, they're quite different and they're quite nice to see – I think they're performing well.
"I think it's it's a good fight, a good battle. It's great to be there and [we] have to somehow enjoy it."
Ferrari delighted with pace after difficult seasons
After a pre-season spent cooling expectations, Ferrari will now be looking ahead to the 23-race 2022 season full of excitement.
The excitement comes following two winless seasons for the Italian team, during which their main focus was to develop their car for 2022.
Binotto continued: "I think expectations are there and were there. We created them. But that's Ferrari, everybody is waiting for us!
"After those difficult seasons, somehow, I think we pushed a lot and we worked very hard back at the factory.
"The team is great and it's good to see, at least today, that we are performing okay."
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Sunday's race will be long, warns Binotto
Ferrari must now find a way to turn pole position for Leclerc into a victory in Sakhir, a venue at which the Monegasque led back in 2019 before reliability robbed him of what looked set to be a maiden win.
Binotto added: "Tomorrow will be another day. I know pretty well that tomorrow can be even tougher!
"The race is long; it's another situation, but at least the quali is showing us that the car is performing well.
"The season will be long but we want to be part of it."
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