The Losail race was approached by Scuderia Ferrari with a defensive and conservative atitude, which in the end helped the Maranello team take a double points finish very useful for the constructors’ standings with just two races until the end of the season. Carlos Sainz’s seventh place and Charles Leclerc’s eighth place are not the kind of results that fans can dream of, but they were the best possible result in a race in which Ferrari had to focus mostly on tyre wear. In the end, the track proved the Maranello team right, especially in comparison with McLaren in the fight for P3 behind Mercedes and Red Bull. Now the Woking team has fallen to -39.5 points, which means Ferrari has made a decisive step in securing third place.
The weekend had started badly for the Italian team, especially due to the problems that occurred to Charles Leclerc’s car. The Monegasque was only 13th in qualifying but in the evening the team discovered a problem with the chassis of the SF21 #16. The mechanics were very good at replacing the chassis on schedule, allowing the Monegasque to start regularly from his position on the starting grid. After the race, however, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto was asked if it might not be better for the driver to start from the back of the grid with a new power unit. Speaking to Sky Sport F1, however, the Ferrari boss ruled out that there was ever this possibility.
“Changing the engine now is irrelevant – he commented – we introduced the new hybrid part a few races ago. The engine is reliable and does not drop in performance once more kilometers are covered, so there was no need to change it. If we had changed Charles’ engine, he would not have finished eighth”. Mattia Binotto also ruled out the hypothesis of a team order to reverse the drivers’ positions and allow Charles Leclerc to attack Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon, who preceded the Ferrari duo: “Charles tried to ask us over the radio. In reality, however, at that stage we were managing the tires, not pushing. It’s not like Carlos couldn’t have gone faster. We were the ones who didn’t want to make him go faster so as not to be in risky puncture conditions, as others have done” – concluded the team principal.