Scuderia Ferrari’s chief technical director Mattia Binotto has made a short analysis of the 2017 Austrian Grand Prix, which took place last weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, as the Maranello team scored a podium finish thanks to Sebastian Vettel, who in the end came very close to overtaking Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas for the win, while Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen brought ten points for the Italian side, finishing in fifth place, behind Lewis Hamilton.
Mattia Binotto heightens the fact that qualifying and most importantly the start of the race were the key factors which led to the outcome of the 2017 Austrian Grand Prix: “First of all I want to congratulate the team for the very good work and for giving us the possibility to get back on the podium, after two races during which we were unlucky and we probably deserved more. This weekend we were once again very close to Mercedes and unfortunately Sebastian lost the pole-position for a few of tenths of a second, which in retrospect could have made a huge difference, given how close the last laps were. We tried to undercut Bottas, while at the same time making sure Sebastian was safe and could cover Hamilton, who was extremely fast after his pit-stop change. Sebastian drover a superb race and his tyre management gave us the opportunity to close in on the leader in the final stages of the race, but unfortunately it was not enough for the win.” – Scuderia Ferrari’s chief technical director explained, as reported by the Italian media at the end of the race in Spielberg.
At the end of the 2017 Austrian Grand Prix there were many accusations regarding Kimi Raikkonen’s strategy, as the British media implied that the Maranello team basically sacrificed the Finnish driver and his in-race tyre strategy with the purpose of letting him remain out long enough in order to delay Valtteri Bottas by a few seconds in his gap to Sebastian Vettel, given the fact that Ferrari did not immediately react to Hamilton’s pit call and instead surprisingly decided to let Kimi continue on track despite the fact that his 40-lap old tyres did not give him the possibility to keep up with his main rivals in the fight for a podium finish. Mattia Binotto strongly denied the allegations made in the British media and explained what Ferrari intended to do by letting Kimi on a first stint of 44 laps, more than any other driver on the Ultra soft tyre (only Felipe Massa completed 47 laps, but on the Soft compound): “We realized that by pitting Kimi the lap after, it would still not have been enough to come out ahead of Hamilton, so we decided to try something different. We hoped that by having fresher tyres in the later stages of the race we could put pressure on Hamilton, as his second stint on the softest compound was very long. However Kimi had problems with blisters on his tyres and could not make up this lost ground.” – Mattia Binotto explained, as reported by the Italian media on Monday.