The list of mistakes Ferrari made this year is long. Once it was the pilots, once the team. In Mexico, it was the strategy that killed Charles Leclerc for a safe podium. The Pole-Setter led the race up to its first pit stop in the 15th lap, but ended up only in rank four because it came to the service twice in total.
While the top three each passed successfully with one stop, Ferrari got stuck at Leclerc. We only had the data from Friday and Saturday. And it was even warmer,”recalls team leader Mattia Binotto at’Sky’and explains:”At this time of the race, we did not see the entry strategy as the fastest strategy in the race.”
“If we look back now, it would have been the right choice,”says Binotto.”If we look back now, it would have been the right choice.” But when you’re ahead, you don’t take those risks. You cover,”he explains. Background: Already in Round 14, Alexander Albon, who was third at that time, had made his first stop. We made the first stop quite early to secure the position against Albon,”explains Leclerc himself.
Wolff knows: it is”more difficult”
“Also to prevent overheating, which is a big topic here. We therefore went to the position on the track and did not want to get out behind it. At this point in the race, we thought it was a two-stop press, which was not the case in the end,”said Monegasse, who came to the service again in Round 43. Mercedes team leader Toto Wolff was “surprised” by this strategy.
“It is just more difficult if you drive ahead in order not to give up your victory,” says Wolff in’ORF’from his own experience. But the two-stop strategy would have made it clear to Mercedes that Sebastian Vettel is the biggest threat this Sunday.” This is not the only reason”, however, Leclerc tells and reports:”The second stint was not really great.”
“I did not feel good on the medium. I don’t know why, but the first set of medium tires felt a lot better. We have to analyze this,”said the Monegasse. Maybe we attacked too early and heated the tires,”Binotto ponders and recalls:”We also lost time at the pit stop. Without this, he would have been much closer to the cars before him.”
Leclerc also assumes responsibility
Because there was a problem at the back right, Leclerc lost more than three, five seconds at his second stop. He was also unable to play the advantage of the fresher tyres in his third and final stint. But Leclerc does not blame the team. The strategy was not good, but I should have asked more about boxing radio,”the 22-year-old self-criticizes.
“I still have to learn,”he recalls and explains:”I should have been more decisive in the decision to help the team, on my side to make the right decision “what Seb did.” Because even Vettel should have come to the box much earlier to his first stop. But the German stayed out longer after a discussion on the radio.
This proved to be the right decision, while Leclerc eventually lost three seats due to his strategy. Looking back, it is not possible to say at 100 percent whether he would have won the race with a better strategy. But Vettel’s second place shows that he would have landed at least on the stairs. After that you are always smarter.