TJ13 published an article before the 2022 British GP suggesting Ferrari were all at sea with their strategy and it proved to be the case. Carlos Sainz took command of the team’s strategy at the restart following a safety car being deployed with 13 laps to go.
Ferrari had 11 seconds when the safety car was deployed to tell race leader Charles LeClerc to pit, but appeared to dither. At the time LeClerc, Sainz and Hamilton were all on the hard tyre which would carry them to the end of the race.
Sainz who was a few seconds further behind LeClerc did pit for the soft tyre along with Lewis Hamilton. This hung Charles LeClerc out to dry at the race restart.
It seems as though each time Ferrari are presented this season with a surprise event be it rain or a safety car, they freeze and miss the moment to make the most of the opportunity.
Had the team double stacked its drivers the gap to Hamilton was enough at the time for them to retain P1 and P2.
Even more bizarrely as the restart loomed, Ferrari told Sainz to give 10 car lengths to his team mate on the harder tyres, presumably to give him an opportunity to retain the lead from Hamilton who like Sainz was now on new much quicker tyres.
Team radio: “The instruction is to give 10 car lengths to Charles as some breathing space”
Sainz argued with his engineer pointing out he would be under pressure from Hamilton. In the end the Spaniard stayed within a car length of LeClerc and breezed past him 4 corners into the restart lap.
Sainz: “Guys I’m under pressure from Hamilton. Please don’t ask these things. Let’s stop inventing, stop inventing I’m under pressure also”.
Jenson Button observed after the chequered flag, “I think they [Ferrari] just wanted to give Charles time to warm his tyres up”.
Earlier in the race, the team had twice refused to issue team orders when Sainz was leading the race, but Hamilton was catching his team mate. This gave Mercedes half a chance to pit for new tyres and split the Ferrari’s when Hamilton rejoined the race.
The team order was eventually given to Sainz on lap 31 to let LeClerc through and this prevented Mercedes jumping LeClerc. Charles then went on to build a 3.5second lead on his Spanish team mate.
There is a present a debrief going on within the Ferrari team as LeClerc will be demanding to know why the team weren’t ready for the safety car. It was obvious to the Sky commentators several seconds before the race officials decided to deploy it.
LeClerc was seen complaining to team principal Matt Binotto after the chequered flag, Binotto then admonished him waving his finger in front of the Monegasque’s face.
LeClerc told the media, “I had old hard tyres and obviously everyone around me had new softs so I was struggling massively. But in the end I managed – I mean I gave my absolute best, but it was enough.
And its disappointing.”
When asked about how the team had managed the race, LerClerc shrugged replying, “Again we’ll have to look at the global picture. On my side I only have my picture of my race – and in the car sometimes you don’t have the full picture.
“On my side I feel like I’ve lost a it too much time in the first stint especially.”
In that stint LeClerc was harrying Sainz and clearly much quicker but the team refused to order Carlos aside.
A magnanimous LeClerc concluded, “I don’t want the focus to be towards my disappointment – but more towards his [Carlos] incredible race win, and your first race win in Formula One is always extremely special”.