Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto believes the squad has made only a “slight improvement” in spite of its encouraging result as Formula 1’s Portuguese Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc ensured Ferrari had the third-fastest car in qualifying for the third time in the last four events as he finished behind only the Mercedes drivers and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
At previous events in Mugello and the Nürburgring Leclerc was unable to convert that speed in race trim, falling behind Renault, Racing Point, McLaren, as well as AlphaTauri.
But at Portimao Leclerc maintained fourth position after a frantic opening few laps to give Ferrari its best result since the second of Silverstone’s two races.
It came as Ferrari introduced further updates to its SF1000, focusing on the diffuser, as part of a package that has been gradually implemented across recent events.
However Binotto was quick to play down the significance of Ferrari’s Portimao display.
“I don’t think it’s day and night compared to the Mugello, I think the car was slightly improved, but it’s not a completely different picture,” he said.
“When I think the battle is so close in the midfield, a couple of tenths may help being ahead of staying behind.
“I think in the Mugello our race pace was very poor, compared to qualifying, I think here the race pace has been better, but there are many reasons for it and not only the car upgrades.
“I think it’s important for us that we prove in the next races that they are bringing us the performance we’ve seen here or if it was just specific to Portimão.”
Ferrari had both SF1000s in the points for only the fourth time this season as Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10.
Ferrari preserved sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship, extending its advantage over nearest opponent AlphaTauri to 16 points.