United States GP Preview: Binotto calls for clinical Scuderia

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto wants to see his drivers be more ruthless in converting poles into maximum points, starting with this weekend's United States Grand Prix.

The Scuderia have qualified first in the past six races but have only won half of those, spurning the opportunity to put significant pressure on Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the summit.

Charles Leclerc has twice topped the podium, with Sebastian Vettel managing the feat once, and Binotto wants to see the team's upward trajectory continue at the Circuit of the Americas.

"We have started the past six races from pole position but have only gone on to win three of them and we certainly want to do better than that," he said, having seen Leclerc surrender the initiative to finish fourth in Mexico, where Hamilton triumphed last time out. 

"We are encouraged by the fact that we now have a package that allows us to fight for wins on most tracks. It's a significant improvement on how we started the year and credit must go to all the people in Maranello and at the track, who have worked so hard to fight back from where we started.

"We need to use the last three races of this season to further develop as a group and to operate in the sharpest possible manner in order to be better prepared for next year. It is a very tight field at the front and every detail matters if we want to win more often.

"Austin will hopefully give us a good opportunity to do so. It is a very challenging track with many different combinations of corner."

Ferrari did triumph Stateside last year, when Kimi Raikkonen took the honours, but Hamilton – who can wrap up a sixth world title on Sunday – is seeking a seventh victory in the USA.

TALK OF THE PADDOCK

Hamilton will be crowned world champion once again if he does not lose more than 22 points to Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

The Briton is Formula 1®'s dominant force and he believes Mercedes' strength runs right through the team, while their rivals all have shortcomings.

"There's not one weak link in our team and that's why we are winning world titles," he told Sky Sports after winning in Mexico.

"We are fighting against other good teams, but they have weak links and they make a lot more mistakes than we do.

"There is so much work that goes on in the background."

RACEWEEK SCHEDULE (all times AEDT)

Friday 
FP1: 3.00am-4.30am AEDT
FP2: 7.00-8.30am AEDT

Saturday 
FP3: 5.00am-6.00am AEDT
Qualifying: 8.00am-9.00am AEDT

Sunday 
Race: 6.00am AEDT

F1® FACT

In a poll of over 16,000 users on F1®'s official website, the United States Grand Prix was voted the best race of the 2018 season. 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Kimi Raikkonen
2017: Lewis Hamilton
2016: Lewis Hamilton

DRIVER STANDINGS 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 363
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 289 (-74)
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 236 (-127)
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 230 (-133)
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 220 (-143)

CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS 

1. Mercedes 652
2. Ferrari 466 (-186)
3. Red Bull 341 (-311)
4. McLaren 111 (-541)
5. Renault 73 (-579)

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