Vasseur hits back over accusation McLaren and Williams have leapfrogged Ferrari

There were six different teams in the top six in qualifying at the 2023 Dutch GP

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Fred Vasseur rubbished accusations that Ferrari have slipped to the sixth-fastest team in Formula 1 despite a difficult 2023 Dutch Grand Prix weekend where five different teams beat them in qualifying and the Scuderia picked up just ten points from the race.

Ferrari have picked up just two top-six finishes since McLaren unleashed their devastatingly quick upgrade package at the British GP, and seemingly prepare for their home race looking over their shoulder rather than ahead to a potential podium.

Williams were the latest team to join the party qualifying fourth and tenth at Zandvoort, and should go well again in Italy based on their performances at Montreal and Silverstone.

“I think you are a bit harsh in the judgment,” Vasseur told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “Today we finish in front of McLaren, we are still P2 in terms of pure laptime in quali”.

“For sure it’s more difficult to improve when you are Mercedes, McLaren or Ferrari than when you are Williams coming from P10.

“They are making a good step forward and congratulations to them, but we have to improve for sure and we are working like hell. We are making some small steps and I hope we’ll see in our Monza performance.”

Vasseur: Ferrari problems same as before

Max Verstappen leads McLaren’s Lando Norris, Mercedes’ George Russell, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and the Williams of Alex Albon at the 2023 Dutch GP | | Peter Fox/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Vasseur reiterated any Ferrari mistakes are being amplified by the historically tight nature of the F1 field right now.

With neither Mercedes unable to break away from the chasing pack as the clear second-best team on the grid, McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams all enjoyed a resurgence following the summer break.

However, qualifying itself wasn’t particularly close with over 1.5 seconds separating Lando Norris in second and Charles Leclerc in ninth.

“It was the same in the past except the gap between every single team was much bigger,” Vasseur added. “If we didn’t do a very good job and you were two-tenths of the potential you didn’t lose position.

“Today you lose two-tenths on your potential and I think it was Friday in FP2 you have six or seven cars in one-tenth.

“Every single mistake from the drivers of the team in terms of setup tyre management and so it’s making a huge difference, that is an issue.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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