Mattia Binotto: Austria defeat will boost Charles Leclerc's hunger
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has stressed that Charles Leclerc’s narrow defeat at Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix will only serve to heighten the youngster’s hunger.
Leclerc dominated the Bahrain Grand Prix in March but missed out on victory after a cylinder failure slowed his SF90, relegating him to third.
A spate of setbacks and Ferrari’s lack of overall performance restricted Leclerc’s prospects across the next rounds but in Austria he claimed a comfortable pole position.
Leclerc led the majority of the race but was reeled in during the closing stages by a charging Max Verstappen, who moved to the front with three laps remaining.
“I think there is no difficulty to encourage him," said Binotto of Leclerc.
"I think he’s already prepared for the next one, [Austria] gives him even more of a boost to somehow get his first victory in F1.
"Certainly he’s sorry for the output, I think after qualifying it was somehow very optimistic and after the first laps of the race he was controlling the race and saw himself in a good position.
"But that’s what’s good in the sport, the chequered flag is only at the end of the race, and everything may happen.
"I think he’s simply looking ahead at the next races as a new challenge and he’s very hungry, so I’m pretty sure sooner or later it will be his time."
Binotto also dismissed suggestions that Leclerc’s Soft/Hard strategy was a mistake.
"Certainly Max had a tyre advantage at the end of the race being on fresher tyres compared to Charles, but we had to react to Valtteri [Bottas’] pit stop,” said Binotto.
"When Valtteri pitted we had to protect ourselves and our position so that was the time to pit.
"The tyres were still in good conditions, the Softs, which proved our choice was the right one."