A solid performance that could have yielded more: that’s the summary of Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow’s performance in the 2021 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. In front of a huge crowd, with over 400,000 attending over the course of the weekend, Charles Leclerc came home a fine fourth, thus finishing where he started. The Monegasque had a lonely race, running at a good enough pace to gradually pull away from his pursuers. Carlos Sainz on the other hand lost two places to finish seventh. He fought hard but paid a heavy price for a mistake from the team during the pit stop, which pretty much cost him two places.
The Scuderia scored 16 points today, thus reducing the gap to the third-placed team to three and a half points, with five Grands Prix remaining this season.
What a race. It was definitely one of the most physical drives of my career. The rear was moving quite a lot and temperatures were high throughout. I am satisfied with my personal performance. I don’t think that I left much on the table today and I really pushed the car to its limit on every lap.
Our pace was a positive surprise. Although we are mostly focusing on 2022, the few upgrades we have brought this year have allowed us to make some important steps forward. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone back home in Maranello at our factory as well as at the track for all the hard work they have put in. This weekend the result of their efforts has shown.
Being back in the United States has been great and it’s been a real pleasure to race on this amazing track again. Next up is Mexico, which I am also very excited about. The track there should suit our car fairly well and we will push to continue on this positive trajectory.
It was a frustrating race for me because we had the pace to finish P5 but things didn’t go our way today. I had to fight with both McLarens on lap 1. It was an intense battle, with cars switching positions a lot, and in the end, I let Ricciardo by thinking it was Lando.
In the second stint, I was soon behind Daniel: we went for the undercut and it would have worked very nicely, overtaking him and having clean air behind Charles, but unfortunately, we had a slow pit-stop and I was again stuck behind Daniel. I damaged my tyres trying different lines to pass him and eventually that allowed Bottas to catch us at the end.
I’m frustrated because the result did not live up to the potential of our package and I just hope our luck changes a bit after two consecutive races with unfortunate stops. On the positive side, the feeling with the car was good, so we’ll carry that into the upcoming triple-header.
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
We leave Austin having demonstrated, both in qualifying and in the race, that we have made progress even on a track that, on paper, is not particularly suited to our car. However, there’s some disappointment, because we did not do as well as we could have done, with the mistake at Carlos’ second pit stop costing him two places. We have always said we must use this season to make progress, because only if we are perfect in every area can we aspire to the higher echelons and we saw the importance of that again today. One slip up in what was overall a good weekend has cost us valuable points.
Charles and Carlos were excellent today and in this part of the season, the performance of the SF21 has improved, partly thanks to the introduction of the new hybrid system. I believe we can fight for third place all the way to the end and that we have everything in place to achieve that.