Ferrari outline Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen concerns after Carlos Sainz gets podium

Max Verstappen prevails in world title shoot-out

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Ferrari are more than aware the gap between themselves and Mercedes and Red Bull is ‘still very big’ despite Carlos Sainz picking up third at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Verstappen was the man who prevailed in Abu Dhabi as he came away with his first ever world championship title, however the victory was not short of controversy.

Arch rival Hamilton was the man who held a comfortable lead for the majority of the race, however a late safety car bunched the pair back together after Nicholas Latifi crashed late on.

As a result, lapped cars who stood between the two title rivals were allowed to controversially pass, leaving Hamilton and Verstappen to play out a one-lap shootout for the title which the Dutchman went on to win in.

Away from the title drama though, Ferrari’s Sainz put in an impressive final performance of the season to come away with third, and his fourth podium of the year.

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Despite the impressive showing from the Spaniard, his Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto still believes his team are well behind their Mercedes and Red Bull rivals.

He said: “We wanted to finish this season with a smile and we did it. 

“Having Carlos on the podium was the best way to end a championship in which we made significant progress compared to last year.

“We are aware that the gap to those fighting for the titles is still very big, but it cannot be denied that we took a considerable step forward over the course of the season.”

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In a season that has no doubt been dominated by Verstappen, Hamilton and their teams, Ferrari came out next best having picked up a more than respectable third place finish in the constructors’ championship behind winners Mercedes, and runners-up Red Bull.

And Binotto revealed that his team’s third-place finish was down to the hard work of his whole team, not just the driving of Sainz and teammate Charles Leclerc.

He continued: “Third place in the Constructors’ Championship was down to the efforts of everyone in the team, at the track and back in Maranello, who worked really hard with determination, humility and in a united fashion.

“This team spirit and this will to improve together also extends to our drivers, Carlos and Charles, who have shown with their performance and their behaviour that they are up to the task they have been given as Scuderia Ferrari drivers. They are the best pairing on the grid.”

All eyes for the Ferrari boss now turn to the next campaign, and their efforts to bridge the gap between the sport’s top two as he aims to give their fans something to cheer about after sticking by them in more difficult times.

“Now we can concentrate 100% on the development of next year’s car, when we want to give our fans all around the world something to cheer about,” added Binotto.  

“In fact, we thank them for their unwavering support, even at the most difficult moments.”

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