1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill says that the battle for the championship is still far from over after a horrible afternoon for Ferrari in Baku.
Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz suffered reliability failures on Sunday, leaving Max Verstappen to lead home Sergio Perez for a Red Bull one-two as they extended their Constructors’ Championship lead.
Leclerc also lost second in the Drivers’ Standings to Perez, and has fallen 34 points behind reigning champion and leader Verstappen.
The Scuderia held a healthy advantage over Red Bull after Leclerc won in Bahrain and Australia as Verstappen suffered reliability issues of his own, but the Austrian side have since turned it around.
Given how much the picture has changed in the last five rounds, Hill sees nothing to suggest that Ferrari are out of the title battle with 14 rounds remaining in 2022.
“It must be immensely frustrating [for Ferrari] but the championship is still wide open,” he said during Sky Sports’ coverage of the race.
“OK, it’s a terrible day for them as a result but I don’t think it’s a disaster. It’s too early to start talking about that. And Red Bull have had their problems as well.”
Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen also suffered failures in their Ferrari-powered cars, while Valtteri Bottas and Mick Schumacher finished outside the points.
With failures now happening ever more frequently for the Maranello-built power units, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has conceded that there are worries over reliability.
“Certainly, it’s a concern,” he conceded after the race.
“I think we said it even before coming here to Baku, reliability is always a factor which is a key factor in the battle, as [is] the performance.
“I think as a team we pushed certainly a lot through the winter last year to develop the car.
“We proved that we are not yet fully reliable, there is some work still to be done but as I think we didn’t get euphoric at the start of the season, we will not be devastated right now.
“I think the team will still focus, working hard [to] try to address those issues to make us simply stronger for the future.”
The Italian is keen to get back to base and find out what is going wrong with the engines before setting out a development path to fix them in the long run.
“I think first we need to understand and analyse what happened today,” explained Binotto.
“Not all these issues are the same so maybe some of these are very quick [fixes].
“I don’t know yet, honestly I think we need to take some time to analyse, to understand and maybe this was one of the same of the past, let me say events, maybe not, so I have not the answer yet.”
Sunday’s race was the first time this year that no Ferrari-powered car has managed points in a race.