Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto issues clear instructions to his team over Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton

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Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto has told his team they “now need to respond” after Max Verstappen won the Miami Grand Prix to close the gap on Driver’s Championship leader Charles Leclerc.

Ferrari and Leclerc have enjoyed an excellent start to the new F1 season, with Ferrari leading the constructors’ championship and Leclerc top of the driver standings. However, Verstappen’s victory in Miami has moved Red Bull just six points behind Ferrari, while Leclerc’s lead has been cut to only 19 points.

Although Leclerc reached the podium for the fourth time this season with a second placed finish in Miami and teammate Carlos Sainz finished third, Binotti said he “can’t be completely happy” with the race. He said: “We can’t be completely happy with today’s race because, although the F1-75 was competitive, our rivals were a few tenths per lap quicker than us.

“If you consider how many points we are taking home from here, we can’t be too disappointed, given that we are leading both championships, but it’s clear we now need to respond. We are keen to get the job done and there are still a lot of races to go.

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“It’s true that Red Bull improved their car, improved it since the very start of the season. If I looked at the last two races, maybe they got a couple of tenths per lap faster to us.

“It’s no doubt that in order to keep the pace we will need to develop ourselves with new upgrades.” Ferrari are set to make improvements to their car ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix later this month and Binotti is hopeful that will help them “catch up the current gap we’ve got to the Red Bull”.

He added: “I hope because there is a budget cap that at some stage Red Bull will stop developing, otherwise I would not understand how they can do that – but let’s see in the next races. 

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“It could be at least our turn to try to develop as much as we can the car by introducing upgrades, and I think it’s not a surprise that we may have a package in Barcelona, which will be important for us. As usual, I hope the package we are introducing is working as expected and in that case, it can be a good boost in order to try and catch up the current gap we’ve got to the Red Bull.”

Ferrari have not won the Spanish Grand Prix since 2013, when Fernando Alonso emerged victorious, while Red Bull last won the race in 2016, with Verstappen coming out on top. Lewis Hamilton has won the last five editions of the race.

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