Formula 1 | Despite victory: Ferrari breakdowns continue

End of the bad luck for Charles Leclerc: Monegasque celebrates his first victory in Spielberg on Sunday since triumphing at the Australian GP in early April. “Finally things worked out for us and we got the win. I definitely needed this one,” says Leclerc, looking at his chances for the World Cup.

“The car’s performance has been great since Australia, but apart from in Miami (after all, second behind Verstappen; ed.) we still never got it together,” says Leclerc in relation to the recent poor results: the Ferrari driver was five times in a row. Don’t star on the podium. With the first win for the Scuderia in Spielberg in 19 years, he finally managed to break free on Sunday.

But even that hangs by a thread up to the last second. First, team-mate Carlos Sainz, third at the time and chasing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, retires spectacularly: After an engine failure, his Ferrari is ablaze at the edge of the track. “Almost at the same time I also had a problem,” reveals Leclerc, in which the accelerator pedal keeps getting stuck.

“It was very stressful at the end. The gas was always inconsistent and got stuck in the middle of the curve. It was very difficult, especially in turn three, you don’t want to get more speed there all of a sudden,” explains Leclerc and reveals: “It was very difficult to manage – not so much in the fast corners, but especially in the slow corners. I’m very happy that we still managed to finish.”

Leclerc does not panic, at least because of Sainz’s problem.

After all: Leclerc does not panic very much, at least because of Sainz’s problem: “I knew that my problem was not with the engine, because it felt strange but different. But of course it’s still a concern,” says the winner in terms of defects in both Ferraris. “We have to look at it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

According to information from AUTO BILD, there was a realistic risk of failure: Leclerc’s accelerator pedal was always at least 20 percent. Had the problem started at an even higher value, the hydraulics would have shut down the engine for safety reasons to save the transmission. Team boss Binotto admits with a view to the final phase: “I have to admit, I was very nervous and that’s why I didn’t watch the last three laps.”

In the end, the Scuderia got away with a black eye, but one thing is clear: as fast as an arrow Ferrari is again in Austria, the reliability, especially with the engine, remains the Italians’ Achilles’ heel: “We had two in the last five races I have problems (engine damage in Barcelona and Baku; ed.), now with Carlos again. We really have to get these things under control as quickly as possible,” demands Leclerc.

Team boss Binotto says in relation to the loss of the second Ferrari: “Of course I was very disappointed about what happened to Carlos. But first we have to see what happened and whether it’s the same as with Charles in Baku.” According to Binotto, the ongoing engine misery is “of course worrying. But the people in Maranello are working hard to get it under control. I know how good they are and I’m sure they will fix the problems soon.”

Despite all promises of improvement, unlucky Sainz is of course depressed after his fire: “It wasn’t an easy situation. I saw the fire in the rear-view mirror and hit the brakes. But when I wanted to jump out of the car, I noticed that it rolls back. I wanted to prevent that and called the marshals to do something behind the tires, but at some point there was so much fire that I had to get out,” the Spaniard explains the tricky scene that results in a virtual safety car .

After all: While the engine remains a problem child, this time at least the strategy department of the Reds works. Because after Sainz’ failure, Ferrari uses the VSC this time to bring Leclerc directly to the pits and put fresh tires on him. Team boss Binotto says about the decision: “It was a no-brainer today, but the situation was very different from that at Silverstone (where Leclerc was not stopped; ed.), because we were sure that Max would come in again with his tires. ”

Nevertheless, one thing is certain: the Scuderia can no longer afford any more mistakes or failures in their ranks if the race to catch up with the World Cup is to work out. Leclerc is still 38 points behind Verstappen in the World Cup.

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