Ferrari star Charles Leclerc (second place) verbally puts his finger in the red wound: “If you start here from pole, then you also want to win. So this is not my best day.”
The problem: The Scuderia has once again made a mistake. When a virtual safety car phase begins on lap 13 after Sebastian Vettel’s exit with engine damage, the traditional team brings its leading top star Leclerc into the pits.
“We couldn’t take full advantage of a pit stop during the virtual safety car period because it ended when I rolled down the pit lane on fresh tires,” admits Leclerc. “From then on we were behind.” Ferrari takes risks, but it doesn’t pay off.
As a reminder: Carlos Sainz was missing a wheel in Zandvoort. And the pit stop decision is also illogical in Monza. Actually, the leader doesn’t take any unnecessary risks.
“It was the right decision,” emphasizes Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto. “He couldn’t have been beaten other than through the strategy.” A statement that can also be seen as a capitulation to the outstanding Max Verstappen in the Red Bull. After all, the Ferrari race director admits after pole position: “We can do a better job.”
This year, however, that won’t bring much. In theory, Max Verstappen could already become world champion at the next race in Singapore. If he wins and Leclerc finishes ninth at best, the 2022 World Cup will be over for the Monegasque. But at Ferrari they keep their heads above water by being able to stand up to Red Bull this year with new chassis rules.
“We have to see the positive,” Leclerc calls out to the disappointed Tifosi. “In Belgium we were far behind. After that, we worked a lot to understand that better. We were able to secure pole here, which surprised me a little. In the race we weren’t fast enough against Max. But we were significantly better than at Spa.”
Ferrari’s claims approach the bitter reality. Not only Michael Schumacher’s ex-team boss Flavio Briatore should find that “incredible”.