Vasseur: Ferrari win possible at Imola with 1-2 in qualifying


Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur reckons the Italian outfit would have prevailed in its home race at Imola had the team locked out the front row of the grid in qualifying.

Charles Leclerc delivered a podium to the Scuderia in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the Monegasque crossing the checkered flag almost eight seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen and runner-up Lando Norris.

Carlos Sainz held fourth in the first half of the race but was undercut and overhauled by McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, which left the Spaniard fifth at the end of the day.

On paper, a podium and a top-five are decent results, but Vasseur couldn't help but feel a tinge of disappointment.

The pace displayed last weekend by McLaren, who seems to have overtaken Ferrari as Red Bull's closest competitor, added a layer of complexity to Ferrari’s post-race analysis.

A frustrated Vasseur knew Ferrari had the potential to be even better.

“Overall, it’s a kind of mixed feeling for me, because I think we did a step forward, McLaren did probably the same as us,” commented the Frenchman after the race.

“We compensate I think partly the delta with Red Bull and we are not far away now. I’m a bit frustrated because I think that if we did one-two in quali we would do in the race today.

“If we missed something it was in quali and not in the race.”


Imola's tight corners and limited straights have always made overtaking a challenge. But this year, the difficulties were amplified by the shortening – for some odd reason – of the DRS zone.

While there were overtakes in last Sunday’s race, they were mostly due to drivers on different tyre strategies, with fresher rubber providing a significant edge.

This only underscored the importance of qualifying, as a good starting position was always going to be crucial for a strong race finish.

While Ferrari haven't clinched pole position yet this season, they're getting closer. The narrow margins witnessed in both qualifying and the race in Imola point to more tightening among the frontrunners, a fact that should thrill the fans, but also the Scuderia.

“It’s good news for me, good news for F1, good news for the championship,” said confirmed Vasseur.

“You have three teams [within] seven seconds after [63] laps, which is less than one-tenth a lap. It was almost the same from the beginning of the weekend.

“I think that the competition will be everywhere. The set-up of the car will be crucial next week in Monaco, the performance of the driver will be crucial. What is true is that we are at the point now where we will have to speed up the development.

“Imagine that someone could bring an upgrade one race before when you have three teams within one-tenth, you can jump from P5 to P1. It means we will have to speed up the time to market.”


Based on the marginal spread between F1’s top teams and their development rates, there’s still all to play for in this year’s championship as far as Vasseur is concerned.

“First, we did only seven races out of 24, which means there are still 17 to go,” he explained. “At this point of the season last year we were 100 points behind Aston Martin and we finished 100 points in front of them.

“It means that the end of the championship is never after race seven. It’s even more true this season, because the gap is very close.

“It’s not very often that you have six or potentially eight cars who could win a race. It means that when you are not in a good shape you can move from P1 to P8, and in P8 you are scoring almost zero.

“It means that the championship can change in one or two weekends.”

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