Binotto: Honda speed high but no surprise

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has refused to echo Sebastian Vettel’s words about the surprising performance of Honda’s power unit during the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.

After rivals earlier questioned the legality of Ferrari’s power unit, Sebastian Vettel suggested with a smile and provocatively that it is actually Honda’s engine that is “suspicious”.

And although Pierre Gasly’s second-place finish in the race only followed the late-race crash chaos, the Toro Rosso driver and Red Bull’s race winner Max Verstappen scored Honda’s first 1-2 finish since McLaren’s Gerhard Berger headed home teammate Ayrton Senna at the 1991 Japanese Grand Prix.

But Binotto was not pointing any fingers at Red Bull’s Japanese auto giant and told Italian journalists after the race at Interlagos, “I am not able to explain what they are doing, I only know how we work. Their speed was high, but to say surprising would be unfair.”

At the same time, he was furious that his drivers, Vettel and Charles Leclerc crashed into one another on Sunday, but he was also buoyed by the work Ferrari has done to close the gap in 2019.

“Max was a couple of tenths faster, so there is work to be done,” he said after the race. “But we have recovered a bit of the gap from the start of the season. We win when we have the fastest and most reliable car, but we are moving forward.

“We have identified our weaknesses and this gives us hope for next year. If we look at this season overall, we lost because we still need a couple of tenths,” added the Italian team boss.