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Ferrari progressing, but pole positions ‘not true performance’

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto says his team is on the right path in Formula 1 but asserted that its back-to-back pole positions does not accurately reflect its true performance level.

Charles Leclerc topped qualifying in both Monaco and Azerbaijan, in Q3 sessions that were halted prior to the second flying laps being completed, owing to on-track incidents.

It marked the first time since 2019 that Ferrari had fronted successive qualifying sessions in Formula 1, having struggled through 2020, when it slumped to sixth in the standings.

“I think obviously there are two cars ahead of us which are still stronger, no doubt,” said Binotto.

“It was great to have pole position both in Monaco and in Baku, but I don’t think that is reflecting our true performance overall. So I think there are two cars which are stronger.

“But I think we are progressing. We are progressing because eventually we are learning the car, we are exploiting it better compared to the start of the season. And we know that there will be some developments coming in the future. So overall, I think that’s where we are.”

Ferrari is locked in a close battle with McLaren for third spot in this year’s Constructors’ Championship.

Fourth for Leclerc, and eighth for Carlos Sainz, allowed Ferrari to move ahead for the first time in 2021, after McLaren had Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo classify fifth and ninth respectively.

But Binotto suggested Ferrari underperformed in race trim.

“I think we were expecting something better after the qualifying, because it has been a difficult race,” he said.

“We have not been perfect in many areas, and I think overall the result is what it is, but as usual, it may be a lesson learned.

“There are things that we can improve; I’m pretty sure that [in] reviewing the entire race we will find areas of improvement and that’s important for us.

“Overall I think it’s still a good weekend, and we should keep our heads up and positive. So certainly the team, we remain focused, concentrated and fighting to get better in the future.”

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