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Frederic Vasseur

Vasseur identifies Ferrari ‘opportunity’ in China

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur feels the Chinese Grand Prix will provide the Italian outfit with an opportunity to test whether it is closer to Red Bull in colder conditions, amid an already strong start to the F1 season.

Vasseur opportunity
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Frederic Vasseur has highlighted an opportunity for his team at the Chinese Grand Prix, following a strong Sunday performance at Suzuka.

The Scuderia have started the season as Red Bull’s closest competitors, having made noticeable improvements in key areas over the winter.

With podium finishes in each of the four rounds and an impressive one-two finish in Australia, capitalising well on Max Verstappen’s retirement, the team’s 120 points scored puts it comfortably in second in the constructors’ championship, 51 points ahead of McLaren in third.

At Japanese Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were able to turn fourth and eighth in qualifying into third and fourth in the race.

“I think everything went very well on Sunday,” the Ferrari team principal said to media including RacingNews365 after the race.

“The strategy was a good one for both cars, the tyre management was under control, the pit stops went well.”

China an 'opportunity'

McLaren’s Lando Norris, who slipped behind the Ferrari pair having qualified in third, struggled to make his tyre strategy work and was forced into an early pit stop on lap 11.

This was in direct contrast with Leclerc, who was able to capitalise on a gutsy one-stop strategy (after the red flag period), stretching a set of medium tyres to the lap 26.

Last year, Ferrari suffered during races due to poor tyre management. With Suzuka being considered hard on tyres, Vasseur agreed that the result was confirmation that the team had moved in the right direction this term.

“I think from the beginning of the season, we are much better on the tyre management and degredation. We were able to do the fastest lap in Jeddah. It was almost the same case today, but for one tenth [of a second].”

“We did a good step forward. We worked a lot in the pre-season and we improved massively on the tyre management.”

Race winner Max Verstappen ultimately finished over 20 seconds ahead of Sainz in third, with Red Bull suggesting that the warmer temperatures on Sunday worked in its favour.

When asked if he felt the things would have been closer in colder conditions, Vasseur turned his attention to the next event.

“I think in China we will have the opportunity to be tested in colder conditions,” the 55-year-old replied, refusing to get drawn in, adding: “But I don’t know. I’m not sure if we are in a better shape – you never know about engine settings, the level of fuel.”

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