“That was a disaster” said Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who publically rages after Hungary defeat, pointing his finger at the team. While Max Verstappen won the Formula 1 Hungarian GP on Sunday, his rival Charles Leclerc only came in sixth. The Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto in particular is getting his comeuppance after the race after weak excuses, blaming the car and not admitting to huge tactical blunders yet again. Mistakes like this mean Binotto is very likely headed out of Ferrari as an F1 expert claims.
Max Verstappen can go into the summer holidays completely relaxed. The world champion has an 80-point lead over Charles Leclerc before the Formula 1 classic race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium at the end of August. There are still nine races to go, and Ferrari will have to improve enormously if they are to somehow still have a chance of winning the title they have been longing for. This is now, of course, highly unlikely.
Verstappen wouldn’t even have to win another Grand Prix to successfully defend his title. His cushion is so large that even second places in the remaining nine races of the season would be enough. But that doesn’t interest the 24-year-old at all.
“As a team, we want to win more races and that’s what we’ll try to do after the break,” said Verstappen, who is not planning a beach holiday just yet.
For Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto things are getting tight; for the fact that Ferrari actually has the strongest car in the field, surprisingly few countable results are coming out. Charles Leclerc lost yet another 17 championship points to dominant Verstappen. The car did not work at all in the cold temperatures in Hungary, not that many others did either, but most importantly Ferrari’s tactics and tyre choice utterly ruined Leclerc’s chances of winning. Something that he would have done had he followed the Mercedes race strategy.
Leclerc agrees, saying on pit radio: “I made it clear that I wanted to keep the mediums as long as possible, but we went to Hards very early.” He said he could not understand this decision. And, “The last part of the race was a disaster. That’s when we lost the race.” The Monegasque thus directly criticises the pit wall and team boss Binotto, joining the chorus of anger in the Italian press yesterday READ MORE ON THIS STORY
Ex Formula 1 driver and Sky pundit Ralf Schumacher also criticises the additional pit stop for Leclerc in the final phase, where they finally switched to soft tyres:
“The stop is not entirely understandable,” says the 47-year-old, “they gave away another two places as a result.”
Schumacher therefore believes Binotto is likely to be booted out: “I see his job in danger. When you get the gift of being able to race for the world championship with Ferrari and throw it away so carelessly, it’s bitter and should be difficult.”
The mood is likely to be much better at Mercedes for the time being. For the second time in a row, Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell made it onto the podium together. They are taking advantage of Ferrari’s weakness and are improving more and more after a disastrous start to the season.
“It’s incredibly satisfying to see the progress we’re making,” said record world champion Hamilton, who is aiming for his first win of the season after five podiums in a row after the summer break: “It’s fantastic for the team that we’re both ahead of Ferrari.”