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Binotto surprised by Ferrari race-pace advantage over Red Bull

Ferrari have started the new F1 season in dream fashion, scoring a 1-2 in Bahrain while their closest rivals, Red Bull, suffered a double DNF.

Leclerc start Bahrain
To news overview © Ferrari

Mattia Binotto has admitted that he was surprised to see Ferrari boast a slender race-pace advantage over rivals Red Bull during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc led home a 1-2 finish for the Italian team that started the 2022 season in dream fashion, scoring a maximum 44 points in the desert.

Red Bull, meanwhile, suffered a late double DNF with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both forced to retire their cars.

But even before Verstappen hit problems, Leclerc was able to repeatedly extend his lead on track, in a positive sign for Ferrari.

Binotto: Ferrari's 1-2 was unexpected

Reflecting on the race result in an interview with Sky Sports F1, Binotto said: "It's fantastic; the 1-2 was unexpected.

"I think it has been a great race. I think that Charles defended the position, [and it was] so nice to see him battling and fighting for the position, and for the win.

"We stayed out on our Medium tyres because, making the simulation and calculations, [Verstappen] should have needed two seconds per lap to catch up at the end of the race, and two seconds is a big amount.

"Somehow, Charles was easy on the tyres and was managing the tyres. He felt comfortable, so for us it was easiest to stay out and try to consolidate the position.

"In the end, we were a bit lucky. [There was] certainly a heart attack for me on the pit wall when you're consolidating the positions and you've got the Safety Car 10 laps to the end. It was... wow!"

Binotto surprised by Red Bull's struggles – and their race-pace

Binotto then spoke about the relative pace of the Ferrari and Red Bull packages, which have been closely matched throughout the weekend.

"I was expecting Red Bull to be even stronger," he continued.

"I think they were strong. I think it may be that [they had] some problems through the race with the braking system, but I don't know.

"Certainly, the first stint they were very, very fast. They were on used tyres and were keeping the same pace as Charles on new tyres, so I was really concerned by them.

"But, finally, I think we had a good race overall, and it was important we ran consistently and tried to bring the car home."

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F1 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix RN365 News dossier