In the ever changing fast paced world of Formula One some things seem to never change. Ferrari are always Ferrari, and Ferrari’s race strategy this season has been woeful. Charles LeClerc was leading the Hungarian GP when the team decided to pit him for hard tyres. In post race interviews Charles LeClerc claimed the team got the strategy wrong and contradicted his team boss’s explanation.
Red Bull followed an aggressive strategy and they clearly pushed Ferrari into their mistakes.
The Ferrari’s started the race P2 and P3 on the medium tyre whilst those around them started on the soft tyres. Red Bull racing knew they had to go on an alternative strategy with Max Verstappen because he started just P10.
The Milton Keynes team pitted Max on lap 16 when the soft tyres were expected to be good for several more laps. On fresh medium tyres Verstappen was immediately quicker than all the drivers ahead and undercut Hamilton who pitted 3 laps later.
This was a mistake from Mercedes who should had stopped Hamilton earlier. Had Lewis stopped straight after Verstappen he may have held off the dutchman who would then have found it difficult to win the race.
Verstappen then caught the leaders and Red Bull decided to try the undercut again rather than let Max battle to overtake.
This pushed Ferrari into pitting Charles LeClerc who was leading the race comfortably. Desperate to retain track position from Max Ferrari fitted the hard tyre so LeClerc could go to the end of the race.
The decision was disastrous as dejected Charles LeClerc explained. “I felt very strong on the medium tyre [leading the race] everything was under control. For some reason and I don’t know what, why do we need to o on the hards.”
LeClerc added he told the team he was happy to continue but they called him in anyway.
“I said on the radio that I was very comfortable [to continue] on the medium and wanted to go as long as possible with those tyres because the feeling was good.”
“I don’t know why we took a different decision.”
When asked about what he would be saying to the team, LeClerc despondently replied, “We’ll speak about that internally to get better.”
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto balde the performance of the car for his drivers poor showing.
“The performance of our car was not as expected. Today the car was not behaving well I think that is the point”.
Binotto blamed the car for not performing as expected on the hard tyre but Charles LeClerc thought differently.
“Honestly the pace on my side, I was pretty happy. The only thing is that everyone will remember the last part off the race which was a disaster for me. That’s where I lost the race. 20 seconds with the pit stop another maybe 6 seconds on 5v laps on the hard because I was just all over the place with these tyres.
That’s where we lost our race.”
Unlike Red Bull racing who switched their planned starting tyres after their drivers felt during the pre grid laps they were difficult to warm up, Ferrari plough on with their pre-determined views and once again threw away a possible race win and certain podium finishes due to confusion and bad judgement.