Vasseur: Bahrain weekend mixed, marred by ‘too many issues’

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Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur admitted to mixed feelings after the Scuderia’s performance in Bahrain, noting the team’s solid haul of points but also the many issues that marked its weekend.

While Carlos Sainz claimed the final spot on the podium in Saturday’s event after an impeccable drive, Charles Leclerc’s evening was heavily impacted by an unusual brake temperature issue that caused repeated locking.

Still, Vasseur observed that Sainz’s 25-second deficit to dominant race winner Max Verstappen was half of what it had been in 2023 when the Spaniard finished fourth at Sakhir.

“You can say, a bit of a mixed feeling after the race for sure,” commented the Frenchman as he looked back on Ferrari race.

“The positive is that we were able to do the pole position yesterday with the fastest lap of the [Q2] session. And perhaps that we compensated 50% of the gap with Red Bull in the race, compared to one year ago, because then we were at 50-something seconds in the race.

“The negative is that it's not enough, and that we had again, too many issues during the weekend. We need to fix the issue on Charles's car with the brakes.

“But I think overall he did a very good job, and then from the pitwall also, because we were able to manage the situation to save P4 in these conditions. Honestly, during the first stint when I saw the situation, I was not very optimistic."

Tyre degradation was Ferrari’s Achilles heal last year. While the Scuderia has undeniably made progress on that front, more work is required to bridge the gap with Red Bull based on Saturday’s race.

“This is also a mixed feeling,” said Vasseur. “One year ago, I think in the race we were at eight/nine tenths, perhaps today we did 50% of the gap.

“But again, we are not there to be at four tenths. But if you compare with last year, and the recovery that we had during the season, the fact that we are able to fight with them in the last part, I think we have a good opportunity.


“It's also a much better base to develop this year. I think the car is much easier for them to feel the car, from where we are weak and where we can improve. Last year it was much more difficult to have a good read on the car."

It appeared that Ferrari had the second fastest package in Bahrain. But Vasseur stressed that it was early days, all too aware that its direct rivals – Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin – are just warming up.

"It's very difficult to understand, because at the end of the day, for sure we are perhaps P2 today as a team, but it's also very, very tight,” he said.

“The gap between P1 and P10 was reduced by 50% compared to last year, it means for that every single issue that you will have or if the set-up is not the right one, or if the car is suited more with one track, it will change completely the classification of the top 10.

“It means that we don't have to try to draw a conclusion today. It's far too early. I'm quite happy with the points that we scored today. I was expecting a bit more, but due to circumstances it's a good one. And let's be focused on next week and start from scratch."

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