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Last weekend Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz qualified second and third on the Dutch Grand Prix grid respectively, both within a tenth of polesitter Max Verstappen.

But on what was widely expected to be a strong track for the Scuderia, Leclerc and Sainz were unable to challenge Verstappen and Red Bull, and instead were put under pressure by Mercedes.

Leclerc was beaten to second by George Russell, while a costly pitstop error and penalty saw Sainz drop down to a distant eighth.

It means Leclerc fell to 109 points behind world champion elect Max Verstappen and Ferrari now has to worry about Mercedes in the battle for second in the constructors’ standings, rather than harbour any hopes of overhauling Red Bull.

Binotto acknowledged that “it is certainly a difficult moment” for Ferrari but urged his team to react at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, where it will receive the support of tens of thousands of tifosi.

“It is certainly a difficult moment right now and for our team because we are not getting the results with the expectations that we have got,” Binotto conceded.

“We need to react and Monza, we will have the tifosi there after COVID and to have them in the grandstands will be important for us as they cheer for us and boost us as a team. Right now, we need to find some good results for the spirit and the mood.”

Mattia Binotto, Ferrari

Photo by: Erik Junius

While Spa was known to be a difficult race for Ferrari against the top speed of the Red Bulls, the Italian squad hoped to strike back in the Netherlands, rather than being beaten by both Red Bull and Mercedes.

Binotto said it was concerning how close Ferrari got to Verstappen in qualifying, but then struggled for race pace on Sunday.

“My main concern is that it has been three races in a row where we do not have the pace on Sunday,” he explained. “It is quite parallel to the one in Hungary.

“This weekend we had a good quali, a quali where we have been competitive.

“But in the race itself we are not competitive enough, which makes life certainly a lot more difficult; not only because we cannot fight for the win with Max but because we do not have the pace to keep the Mercedes behind.

“I think it is now three races in a row that we are not at what should be our potential. This is something we need to address as soon as possible because there are a few races left from now until the end of the season.

“We are still looking for victories and our intention is to win at every single race, including Monza.”

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