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Frederic Vasseur

Vasseur dismisses China theory why Ferrari lost to McLaren

The Ferrari boss felt the team could not use an excuse which affected the whole grid for its performance in the Chinese Grand Prix.

Leclerc China race
To news overview © XPBimages

Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur has refused to blame the track conditions at the Chinese Grand Prix for its lack of performance in the race.

Ahead of F1's return to Shanghai, the track surface was coated in a layer of bitumen, which tyre supplier Pirelli indicated it was unaware of.

In the race, Charles Leclerc took fourth and Carlos Sainz fifth, but the drivers struggled on the hard compound tyres as RacingNews365's Paolo Filisetti explains.

Whilst Vasseur indicated that the track surface was a problem - he refused to use it as the sole excuse for Ferrari's performance.

"It can't be an excuse, it was the same for everybody," Vasseur told media including RacingNews365.

"It is true that it was the first time we came to Shanghai with this generation of car, the coating or painting of the tarmac didn't help as there was huge track evolution over the weekend.

"But it is absolutely not an excuse as everyone is in the same situation, and some teams managed it better - it means we have to understand if we can do a better job."

A tight field

In the restarted race after the safety cars, Leclerc was running third behind McLaren's Lando Norris - but the Monegasque was unable to keep up with the Briton, finishing 9.9s behind.

But Vasseur felt the gap was so tight between the leading gaggle, on any given weekend, the team could be "hero or zero."

"From the beginning of the season, there is a window where the pack is very, very tight," Vasseur replied when by RacingNews365 if he felt the team would have been ahead of McLaren if it was not a sprint weekend.

"Of course, Max [Verstappen] is at times a bit faster, but we have a pack with six or seven cars within one-tenth and I think in qualifying, it was a tenth or a tenth-a-and-half between P2/3 and P8/9 (it was actually 0.315s between Perez in second and Sainz in seventh).

"It means that with [little] details, you can move from hero to zero, and when you start from P9, the race is much more difficult, because you have dirty air on the first lap and even if you are faster, you struggle to overtake because if you don't have a big gap, you damage the tyre.

"It is a matter of putting everything together, we didn't have a clean weekend on our side, we made collectively too many mistakes.

"And this group knows that if you don't do the perfect job, then you won't be at the front, but let's try again next time."

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