Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2019

Ferrari will review decision not to pit Leclerc to chase fastest lap point

2019 Australian Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the team will reconsider whether it was right not to make a bid for the fastest lap bonus point with Charles Leclerc.

In the final laps of the race Leclerc was stuck behind team mate Sebastian Vettel, who he was not allowed to overtake, but had enough of a lead over Kevin Magnussen to be able to make a pit stop without losing a position.

With a point on offer for fastest lap, Leclerc stood a chance of claiming the bonus if Ferrari pitted him for new tyres. But Binotto said the team did not want to take the risk.

“We had the window to pit Charles for new tyres [and] try to go for the fast lap,” he confirmed. “But I think at that stage whenever you pit it may be a risk and I think for us it was more important for us to bring the car home, score the points.

“Sometimes there are races where we are not the best but it’s still important to score points and at the end that was our choice. We will review certainly on the race and we will eventually review the decision but the decision was for that reason.”

Leclerc said earlier in the weekend he expected teams would bring their drivers in for a ‘free’ pit stop to chase the fastest lap if the opportunity presented itself.

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60 comments on “Ferrari will review decision not to pit Leclerc to chase fastest lap point”

  1. No risk no reward. Once again poor decisions by Ferrari today.

    1. They had nothing to win or lose though because of the gaps to Max to the front and Magnussen at the back! It just doesn’t make any sense not to go for it!

      1. @arnoudvanhouwelingen – What are on about. They could have gained an extra point with CL. And since they denied him the opportunity to easily pass Seb for those two extra points the least they could have done was given him fresh boots to take out the fastest lap. No review should be needed. Ferrari have proven time & time again they are slow to react to certain situation. It has cost them points in the past and today is no different. Any other team would have done it.

        1. @Coanda .. what are you on about???? I said exactly the same thing as you by saying that Ferrari should have gone for that extra point !!!!

          1. @arnoudvanhouwelingen – haha sorry.. you did too.. I missed the word “not”…

      2. Botched pitstop, bad tyre, car in the wall… and all-important 10 points are gone.

        Mercedes didn’t pit Valtteri for the same reason.

        1. again, no risk no reward! Mercedes didn’t need to because their clear pace advantage and you can hardly compare taking a risk whilst being in P1 to P5.

          1. That’s not “nor risk, no reward”, but stupidity. Why risk 5th place points for 1 possible point in race 1 of the season?

        2. Too be honest Bottas had only 20 seconds which with delay Hamilton and Verstappen could overtake him.

          Ferrari should pit Leclerc to take that point from Mercedes even Max tried to take that point.

          1. Nope, BOT had enough of a gap to pit and still come out in front.

          2. Bottas had 24s when he asked about it. Pit delta was 23s so it would have been risky. Leclerc had 35s gap, so it should be safe stop. Not going for it should get someone fired: pitwall or pitcrew.

  2. And Why not a double pitstop .. twice the chance of getting the fastest lap?

    1. Exactly. Or pit Leclerc with 3 laps to go and Vettel with 2 to go. So Leclerc has a shot in the penultimate lap, Vettel in the last lap and no other driver ahead has a chance to pit.

      1. True that, would have resulted in an overlap so Ham and Ver wouldn’t have risked it.
        It shows a lack of confidence in Ferrari’s pit crew, I was shouting PIT! at the telly for a good few laps.

        1. Filippo Peverini
          17th March 2019, 23:03

          Same. So frustrating!!!

    2. @arnoudvanhouwelingen, the one factor that might have made them a little nervous was the wheelnut failure on Grosjean’s car, as I believe that Haas and Ferrari use the same wheel retention system.

      In that case, Grosjean retired because the mechanics forced the wheel and wheel nut onto the axle, which damaged the thread and eventually caused it to fail. However, as the exact cause of that failure would have been uncertain during the race, Ferrari might have been nervous about wanting to make another stop in case of a similar issue for one of their drivers – I imagine that, if they had pitted one driver and something had gone wrong in the pits, they’d be getting a lot more criticism than they are now.

    3. Interesting point @arnoudvanhouwelingen. I think teams are probably still learning how to strategise around the extra WDC point. Lessons will have been learned in Australia. I expect the tactical naïvety will have largely disappeared by Bahrain.

  3. Totally predictable they would make a poor strategy decision on the fast lap point. This cost them a whole championship point, just hanging there. It’s incredible.

    Maybe this ultra-conservative approach is reflected in the car as well? Pundits said there were nothing special on the 2019 car and was more a basic evolution of last year’s.

    Shame.

    1. Maybe the old culture of fear is very much alive for them to be afraid of making that call for fear of heads rolling.

    2. Also would’ve made Mercedes score 1 less, so really a lost 2 point swing in constructors

  4. They have to review a lot of things. Their strong point on the last couple of years, race pace, hasn’t been as strong, it already felt like that in testing, and there is any performance on qualifying either.

    It appears as though they do not function well with the tyres for this season. And that early pit-stop didn’t help, actually it just showed how better the Mercedes is.

    Undercut won’t be as effective either, actually wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some over-cuts. If we pay attention to the midfield in some cases the car that stopped to react to the undercut, left the pits with a bigger margin.

    Just wonder for how much longer we will have to hear the sky pundits telling us Ferrari are favourites. They were mentioned that today for some reason, despite the margin in qualifying. They have to understand that they are no longer talking only to the british public, they sound like amateurs making constant mistakes

  5. Yeah, it was a bad decision not to pit Leclerc. The gap to KMAG was 30sec, so more than enough. Plus, would have saved them of the trouble of being criticised for no.1 and no.2 policy from 1st race of the season.

  6. Lets just put it down to being too demoralised to think straight.
    They’ll have a clear head in future races.

    1. They’ll have a clear head in future races.

      LMAO they keeping same mistakes again and again, days of Todt+Brawn are long gone and this time is a mere shadow of its former self.

  7. Christian Horner said RBR was considering pitting Gasly at the end so that he can get the FLAP off Mercedes. Meaning that they wanted Mercedes to not get the extra point. Clever stuff.

    This new FLAP rule surely will make stretegies interesting from now on.

    1. Smart decision they didn’t.

    2. Then the reread rules and realized Gasly wasn’t eligible.

      1. Then reread the rules again, and realized even though Gasly wouldn’t have gotten the point if he set the fastes lap, Bottas wouldn’t have either.

      2. No. If Gasly gotten FLAP, then no one gets the point as Gasly finishes outside top 10 and also RBR prevents Mercedes getting the point.

        1. So if you’re outside the top 10 and you set fastest lap then no one receives a point, is this right?

          1. yes. No one gets the point in that case

        2. @amg44 Are your sure about this? I know it wouldn’t make sense any other way, but this way also creates more ways for people to exploit the rule (mainly, to help your teammate by making sure his rival doesn’t get the point).

          It also creates the possibility of not having the same number of total points earned in each grand prix, which is a nightmare for me… I don’t like this points for fastest lap rule.

        3. That’s awful. It shouldn’t be limited to top ten, what good does that do to spice things up?

          1. Because they don’t want the backbenchers to just pit and get it in situations where they have little to lose. You need to be in it to win it.

            The top ten will have to take more risks to get it since they are already on points.

  8. I probably would have pitted Vettel. He was really slow at the end of the race on old tires, whereas Leclerc was flying. It’s way too early in the season to favor Vettel over Leclerc, so I wouldn’t care too much about who would finish ahead.

    1. I said the exact same thing in the other thread…

      1. Great minds think alike. :)

    2. What about respecting the fact that Ferrari botched Seb’s strategy and allowing Leclerc to pass would be unfair to him? It’s funny how the people who for years have been on Seb’s case for disobeying orders and passing Webber early in the season back in 2013 now want Leclers to disobey orders and pass Seb in the very first race of the season. At least Seb had a reason to disobey (Webber’s behaviour during the last race of 2012 that caused Seb to spin). What justification is there for Leclerc or Ferrari to be unfair to Seb?

      1. There was over a dozen incidents where Seb and Red Bull screwed over Webber. The front wing incident, the smash where Vettel was clearly at fault, yet Red Bull blamed Webber. The Australian GP 2010 where Red Bull and Vettel did not allow Webber to pit at the optimal point – which ultimately cost Webber the world championship in 2010. Let’s not forget Spain one year, where Red Bull pitted Webber in the middle of the race when he was on fresh rubber to make sure he would not get the better of Seb. You really have no idea. All the dozens of times Webber was screwed over by Red Bull and Vettel and yet you reckon Seb had justification.

        Seb’s behaviour was some of the worst we’ve seen. Good on Kimi for not being a Ferrari ass licker. Charles should have told Ferrari to either pit him or he would overtake Seb.

      2. @Ben
        There was over a dozen incidents where Seb and Red Bull screwed over Webber. The front wing incident, the smash where Vettel was clearly at fault, yet Red Bull blamed Webber. The Australian GP 2010 where Red Bull and Vettel did not allow Webber to pit at the optimal point – which ultimately cost Webber the world championship in 2010. Let’s not forget Spain one year, where Red Bull pitted Webber in the middle of the race when he was on fresh rubber to make sure he would not get the better of Seb. You really have no idea. All the dozens of times Webber was screwed over by Red Bull and Vettel and yet you reckon Seb had justification.

        Seb’s behaviour was some of the worst we’ve seen. Good on Kimi for not being a Ferrari ass licker. Charles should have told Ferrari to either pit him or he would overtake Seb.

    3. @f1infigures Good point, but if Seb had an MGU problem it might not have been possible to grab the point, and it could have exacerbated the problem. If he was slow just due to setup mistakes or something like that, it would have made sense to try with both of them since Kmag was no threat to them.

  9. Ferrari must be the only team that didn’t think of the implication of the rule. Any reviewer/article that discussed this rule pointed out that the biggest beneficiary could be the the driver who was in Leclerc’s exact position today. Looks like anyone interested in the sport knew but Ferrari

  10. GtisBetter (@)
    17th March 2019, 13:41

    I don’t think it’s smart to do it. They clearly lacked the pace and it wouldn’t be a certain thing. Everybody is right in hindsight. Just get the points, finish the race.

  11. For the TOP 3, the “1 point” awarded for fastest lap in the race won’t mean any difference in the end, like autosport guys explained, point gaps are too big at any stage of the championship for 21 points to count.

    It’s another thing for the midfield outfits thou.

    1. I actually looked into last years results and it would have changed the order of Bot Rai and Ves given they were so close anyway.

    2. Tell Massa after Brazil 2008 or Hamilton after Brazil 2007 how much a point could mean.

      1. I meant for CONSTRUCTORS championship of course.

  12. I was really disappointed with Ferrari’s unwillingness to take some risk. Should have pitted Leclerc and sent him out after fastest lap. Failing to do that, should have let him pass Seb and show proof that “they are free to race”. What was the risk there? Leclerc clearly faster, just “multi-21”, clean pass on DRS.

    1. Wish I could edit my comment. Meant to add, Ferrari, after so many years, you better start taking some risks if you want to get back to the top.

  13. No, they should have let Leclerc pass Vettel and pitted the latter to go after the FLAP point.

  14. Getting FLAP for Leclerc would have been a boost to the Team and a BIG reward for Leclerc. An absolute No-Brainer.
    For Ferrari to not figure that out is ridiculous and they should be embarrassed.
    It will take them a week t figure it out. Then likely another week to realize they GAVE away a point to Mercedes.
    Yes it was a single point, but points are points and they don’t award them after the fact.
    Kudos to Merc and Redbull Honda. Job well done.

  15. They should pit both cars, let both car have a chance on the FL point!

    1. *let both drivers have a chance on the FL point!

  16. But he didn’t have a fresh set of the softest compound of the weekend left anymore, only a set of the hardest compound available for the weekend.

  17. They probably should have gone for it but then it just takes the one time there’s a pit stop muck up and they lose all the points, just for a gamble to get 1 extra point. You just know if it’s going to happen to anyone it will be Ferrari.

    I wonder how much of this all goes back to just how much pressure the Ferrari team are under, from themselves and from the Italian press and beyond. The amount of team principal changes make it seem like a poisoned chalice and the new guy is probably desperate not to make any cock ups. I understand them not risking it but with their number 2 driver maybe they should in future.

  18. Ferrari blundered in their strategy in this. My reading of this is Ferrari believed Sebastian finishing ahead of Charles was more important than Charles trying to take that extra point from Mercedes. I don’t understand why Ferrari wanted Mercedes to get that extra point, but I guess they are happy with this result. Saying “Charles is free to race Sebastian” and then holding Charles back and not letting him try to catch Max or go for the Fastest Lap is, in my mind is a sign Ferrari lack that “killer instinct”. As we saw, Max did make a mistake, and if a Ferrari was close enough that might have been their driver on the podium. Really, this was a success for Mercedes not just because they prevented Ferrari from getting that point, but because Ferrari went into this race without a strategy to try and get it. You only need one point to win a WCC.
    Sebastian should have been told to move aside to let Charles pass him as soon as he got within DRS range. I don’t think Charles would have caught Max, however that would have given him quite a few laps to have tried to get the Fastest Lap without being hindered. I don’t think he needed to have new tyres, he could have tried with the ones he had because Valtteri wasn’t going to pit to get new tyres. That, to me is the point: Charles should have been given the opportunity to try to steal that point from Valtteri. Saying he was protecting Seb from Kevin Magnussen is nonsense, he wasn’t going to catch either Ferrari unless one of them did something stupid.

  19. Filippo Peverini
    17th March 2019, 23:06

    Ha Ha Good one!

  20. No question they should have tried it. Bottas showed real foresight in getting the extra point. In this sport you need every point you can get. Come on Ferrari wake up!!

  21. Will review?? A donkey has more strategy picking lines down cobblestone.

    Off with their head!! Lol

  22. Well there’s a(nother?) tactic we hadn’t thought about. Sacrificing a #2’s race position in order to prevent his team-mates Championsip rival from potentially getting an extra point. OK it didn’t pan out that way in this race, because Leclerc had a pit-stop over Magnussen, and it wasn’t Hamilton who ended up with the fastest lap. But the point and the possibility still stand. It’ll be interesting to see if the FIA take a dim view of effectively compromising the integrity of a race result later in the season if my scenario was to play out.

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