Ferrari Formula 1 chief Mattia Binotto feels the team’s advantage over Mercedes in Friday’s practice running for the Bahrain Grand Prix is “misleading” as it was using different engine modes to set its fast lap times.
Ferrari struggled to P4 and P5 at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, finishing almost a minute behind Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas at the front of the pack, leading to concerns about its form heading to Bahrain.
But the team managed to bounce back by taking a one-two finish in both FP1 and FP2 at the Bahrain International Circuit, with the gap to the Mercedes’ drivers standing at over six-tenths of a second in FP2.
Bottas and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton said they were braced for a “tough battle” against Ferrari, but Binotto was quick to warn against reading too much into the result.
“I think tomorrow it will be certainly a tough battle. The others will be very strong tomorrow,” Binotto said.
“It’s quite obvious. You may see the GPS data, the speed on the straights, we were certainly pushing different engine modes compared to what the others were pushing.
We’re expecting a tough battle tomorrow, but I think more important is staying focused on ourselves.”
While Binotto was pleased with the progress Ferrari had made to turn things around since Australia, he remained unsure if it would be enough to beat rivals Mercedes and Red Bull.
“I think the results of today are misleading. I’m expecting quite a different situation tomorrow in qualifying, expecting our competitors to be very strong again,” Binotto said. -“But certainly from what we’ve seen today the situation is quite different to Australia, which means we have progressed, and we have progressed compared to Australia.
“Will that be sufficient? I don’t know. We need to work on our car based on the feeling and the data we’ve got today. Let’s try to improve it for tomorrow.”