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Ferrari staying grounded despite 'important' lead over McLaren

Although McLaren say their chances of beating Ferrari to third place in the Constructors' Championship have taken a big hit, the Scuderia insist nothing has been decided.

Ferrari aren't pencilling themselves in for a third-place finish in the Constructors' Championship just yet, despite a strong weekend in Brazil. With Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finishing P5 and P6 in Sunday's Sao Paulo Grand Prix, along with the Spaniard's third-place finish in Saturday's Sprint Qualifying race, the Scuderia have now opened up a 31.5-point lead over rivals McLaren. McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl believes the squad's chances of securing third took a big hit at Interlagos after scoring just one point, but Ferrari counterpart Mattia Binotto says nothing has been decided with three races remaining in the 2021 F1 season. "Certainly, it's an important margin, but there are still three races to go," said Binotto to RacingNews365.com and accredited members of the media. "I'm very happy with the way the team were consistent in managing the race itself, the strategies, the pit-stops, but as well - and here I'm touching wood - the reliability. "Reliability has been a key element [in that battle], which was important."

"It seems we are a bit stronger"

The Sao Paulo Grand Prix was the fourth race in a row Ferrari have outscored McLaren, and Leclerc believes momentum is currently on the Scuderia's side. "We definitely have good momentum. We need to keep working as a team, and keep trying to do the best [we can] every weekend," said Leclerc. "Looking at the last two or three races, it seems that we are a bit stronger than them, so hopefully we can continue like this." Meanwhile, Sainz believes one strong result would see McLaren back in the fight for third ahead of trips to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, circuits he believes will suit the Woking-based outfit. Sainz said: "We definitely look to have a healthy gap and the upper hand, but it's not over yet. They just need a very strong weekend at one of these last three races to suddenly get themselves back into a good position. "I think Qatar and Saudi Arabia are circuits that will go very well for the McLaren, so we need to stay alert."

RESULTS 2024 F1 pre-season testing - Day 2