It couldn’t be more embarrassing for Ferrari: When a replay of the race is shown in the room behind the podium, second-placed Lewis Hamilton couldn’t believe his eyes.
“Did they really drive with the hard tyres?” asks the Brit in disbelief about Charles Leclerc. (NEWS: All current information about Formula 1)
The answer from all the experts in the Formula 1 paddock. At the Hungarian GP in Budapest, the Monegasque got the white tires strapped on by his team at the second pit stop while he was in the lead.
Ferrari with the next strategy fiasco
It comes as it has to come: Leclerc goes swimming mercilessly with it, is easy prey for World Cup rival Max Verstappen. While the world champion – despite starting from tenth place and spinning in the race – celebrates his eighth win of the season, Ferrari’s chances of the title move into the distance with fourth place for Sainz and sixth place for Leclerc.
The Scuderia wanted to fight back after the French disaster last weekend before the summer break. Instead, there is the next strategy fiasco. (DATA: The Formula 1 race calendar)
The drama in two acts: When Max Verstappen comes to the pit stop on lap 39, Ferrari follows suit with Leclerc in a panic. The problem: Because every driver has to use two different tire components, the Italians face a dilemma. The Dutchman started on soft tires, so in the end he was able to strap on medium twice.
So far, Leclerc has only driven with the medium rubber, so he still has to use soft or hard tires. But the distance to the end is too long for the soft compound. Out of necessity, the Scuderia opts for hard. And with that, Leclerc slides off the podium. (DATA: The team ranking of Formula 1)
“We had everything under control,” he sighs. “I don’t know why we switched to hard. I actually wanted to stay on Medium as long as possible.”
He even told his race engineer that on the pit radio. Leclerc: “I was happy with the pace, but the last part of the race was a disaster. I slipped all over the place. We lost the race there.” (Report: Vettel furios! What he’s looking forward to now)
After his crash in France, however, the Ferrari star held back with assigning blame: “Of course we will talk about it, but we will do it within the team.”
Schumacher: “Two places given away”
The conversation is sorely needed, because the command post makes the first mistake even worse with a desperate act: Leclerc is ordered to the pits in the final phase, then finally gets soft tires, but also falls back to sixth place.
heaven-Expert Ralf Schumacher: “The last stop is not entirely understandable. As a result, they gave away two more places.”
The German therefore counts on team boss Mattia Binotto for the first time this season: “I see two people’s jobs in danger. Next to Daniels (Ricciardo, McLaren driver; Note d. Red.) also Matthew. If you get the gift of being able to drive for the world championship with Ferrari and you throw it away so carelessly, it’s bitter and should be difficult.”
Binotto does not cut a good figure in the interviews afterwards either. “It will be a few hours before we understand what went wrong,” he admits, blaming the car. (DATA: The Drivers’ Championship of Formula 1)
“Regardless of the tyres, the performance of our car was not as expected. When the car isn’t going well, it’s difficult to have the right pace and to hold positions on the track,” he says.
self-criticism? None! Binotto talks the breakdown season nicely: “We had the right strategy in France recently, in Austria too, so we’re usually right. Sometimes we make mistakes, but others make them too, they just don’t look too closely.”
Air is getting thin for Ferrari boss
Former Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert can only shake his head: “The result is embarrassing when you have such a fast car and could win everything. It can not go on like this. Ferrari reacted wrong again under pressure,” emphasizes the Brit and demands: “You have to get the right people now to do what Red Bull and Mercedes are doing.”
The air is getting thinner for Binotto. Leclerc has 80 points in the drivers’ championship. The traditional team from Maranello is already 97 points short of the constructors.
Mercedes is already lurking in third place with 30 points. “Our team is great and I support them because I trust them,” whispered the Italian in view of the Hungary disaster and the relentlessly honest World Cup table.
The question remains: How long will Ferrari still trust its team boss?