Ferrari’s Formula 1 title hopeful Charles Leclerc gained six points over Max Verstappen in the British Grand Prix – but also had to beg for team orders behind slower team-mate Carlos Sainz and was left on old tires for a late restart in the lead.
So while Sainz won on a day when Verstappen finished seventh, Leclerc found himself in fourth place.
Did Ferrari just do massive damage to its championship bid? Or is that too harsh a verdict given the situations he found himself in?
Here are the thoughts of our editors:
Ferrari got it wrong from the start
Ferrari were caught off guard in terms of how they ran the team race from when faster Leclerc was caught behind Sainz at the start.
Then it would have made sense to make the trade and let Leclerc make the most of his pace. Considering the race situation and Leclerc’s status as a title lucky, it was a logical thing to do. There was the old paralysis of hoping that the situation would resolve itself.
The drivers were then released to race at a time when they were about to fall through rival Lewis Hamilton’s pit window, which could have been costly.
The safety car pit stop was an unfortunate situation. Ferrari had to leave a car there, so it made sense to drop Leclerc and pit Sainz to cover Hamilton. But again, the lack of control showed as Sainz rejected the team’s request to sit out on the restart.
Whatever the ins and outs of that, if that is your approach, you should know that it is endorsed by both drivers as a general principle they apply in races for such a scenario – because you should know that one or the other would be happy with such a scenario. an idea.
The choice of safety car seemed acceptable at the time – but not now
Ferrari had to leave a car to cover Hamilton, just in case circumstances changed in a way that prevented the race from resuming properly – or resuming for such a short time that the car on old tires could snag.
If it was right to make Leclerc the sitting duck…it was hard for me to tell at first. No race leader will want to lose their place on the track and the leading car must have priority.
I thought Ferrari could have – maybe – have based this all around Sainz acting as the rear gunner. But when he went rogue, demanding to be allowed to attack Leclerc, it made Leclerc more vulnerable. And Ferrari doesn’t seem to have a big problem with that.
So… having initially given Ferrari the benefit of the doubt, I’m not convinced. I think he was blindsided by Leclerc’s track position and did not consider the circumstances. It’s clear that Leclerc couldn’t win this race from the lead on the hardliners. Maybe Sainz could have.
Either way, Ferrari won the race – but the championship protagonist lost.
It was a typical Ferrari
Ferrari is always too slow to react to a situation when it comes to strategy.
It was very lucky for the team that Sainz was on top of the situation after the final stop during this safety car period and rejected the request to stay back and protect Leclerc.
Otherwise, had it been left to the team, Ferrari would have wasted a race win.
Ferrari massively compromised Leclerc
It’s not Monaco. It’s Silverstone. Poke them both.
Ferrari was presented with a phenomenal opportunity to eat away the championship lead from Verstappen, and he did it with the wrong car, while further alienating a driver already at his wit’s end from his F1-75 which was failed several times.
It was quite disconcerting.
There was no excuse not to pit Leclerc against Sainz. In fact, Ferrari could have tried to change Leclerc’s front wing if they wanted – it was a safety car period and there was daylight for Sergio Perez!
If Hamilton had stayed out – he would have – it clearly wouldn’t have mattered. It’s as if Ferrari had never practiced racing to gauge the relative pace of the compounds.
You just don’t do that to your flagship driver. Or maybe you do – but then you lose championships.
This pit call made no sense
As someone who covered Sainz’s winning season in Formula Renault 3.5 that propelled him into F1, I’m delighted to see him finally win an F1 race.
But Ferrari’s strategy was confusing. Of the three main options it had when the safety car was called (pit Leclerc, pit Sainz or both), it seems Ferrari chose the only one that guaranteed to put its title-challenging car at a disadvantage.
Leaving Leclerc on used hard tires – with front wing damage he had sustained throughout the race – ensured he would be a sitting duck on the final restart.
Certainly, if Ferrari wanted to leave a car out during the safety car to maintain track position, it would have made more sense for it to be Sainz’s undamaged car.
Also, overtaking is not that difficult at Silverstone. So Ferrari could have pitted the two cars against each other, and if Hamilton stayed away, then surely two F1-75s could race their way past a Mercedes with worn and harder tyres.
Ferrari faces a rival at Red Bull who will do all they can for their main driver’s championship bid. Even his reluctance to trade Sainz and Leclerc earlier in the race suggests he doesn’t believe in adopting the same strategy, or after so many years of criticism for his willingness to use team orders in the past, is he afraid to do it now?
Leclerc deserves so, so much better
The race-ending moment when Leclerc – on much older tyres, and surely knowing it would soon be futile, and bearing damage to the front wing – ironed the Mercedes on Hamilton’s cooler tires around the outside from Copse (of all places) was absolutely phenomenal. With Fernando Alonso’s 130R off-line pass over Michael Schumacher in the 2005 Japanese GP, it’s clear that a rider is one of the absolute greatest.
It was yet more proof of the absolute class that is Leclerc. And what Ferrari wastes by currently being so spectacularly incapable of giving him the fairly basic means he needs to win a title with his very fast car.