Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Monaco, 2019

Hamilton on Ferrari’s Leclerc blunder: ‘We don’t take risks like that’

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes would not take the kind of gamble Ferrari did during qualifying, which led to Charles Leclerc being eliminated in Q1.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said the team hoped to avoid using a second set of soft tyres in Q1 by not sending Leclerc out again. However their rivals’ lap times improved more quickly than they expected, and Leclerc failed to make the cut for Q2.

Hamilton said Mercedes would not risk failing to get into the next stage of qualifying in order to save a set of tyres.

“Sometimes it happens: You’ll have a minimum time, the knock-out time, they’ll say the least time is this and they’ll predict the track is going to improve a certain amount and you go out and do a lap and they say you’re safe.

“[On] my first lap, they said you’re safe, but you can stay out and do more. I decided to stay out and better my time and see if the track improved. I’ve been sat in the garage and they’re like ‘we’re on the edge, we might go out again, we might not’.

“They chose to risk it. We don’t really take any risks like that that.”

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Mercedes hold regular discussions over their plans for qualifying to ensure they don’t get caught out, said Hamilton.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2019
Ferrari explains error which led to Leclerc’s Q1 elimination
“We sit down, talk a lot about the plan even until going into Q3 you’re talking about the timings and the preparation and what we’re going to be doing. Communication is constant.

“That relationship’s so important, we’ve got great people in our team. They’re not making mistakes and they’re delivering in their work.”

Hamilton’s team principal Toto Wolff said he understood how Ferrari’s error came about and is disappointed Charles Leclerc won’t be near the front of the field in tomorrow’s race.

“These things happen. Using a second set of softs in Q1, you’re penalised. You’re lacking a set of tyres for Q2 and [Q3]. And I think this was the thinking and then the track ramp-up was much stronger than expected and this is how they missed out by this one position.

“It’s unfortunate because Charles was P1 before, it’s his home grand prix and everyone cheers for him. And if I could have had a wish in terms of the narrative around this Monaco Grand Prix it’s to have Charles Leclerc in the fight with us. And he’s not, and that’s a shame.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Hamilton on Ferrari’s Leclerc blunder: ‘We don’t take risks like that’”

  1. And that’s what makes the difference in the end. Mercedes, in general, has been far better at making strategic calls than Ferrari has been over the last 4-5 seasons.

    1. The team who who threw away a race win at Monaco by pitting?

      1. Mercedes didn’t threw away win, Hamilton did. Rosberg win for them though.

        1. @TurboBT Lewis didn’t. The team told him to pit and Lewis even asked if it was right and they said yes, so don’t blame Lewis for that mistake.

          1. Lewis DID request they stop several times, until the team gave in (because they then misread their data, or had the wrong data) and it backfired @noname.

      2. @rockie

        The fact that you have to take an incident out of 2015 to prove that Mercedes makes mistakes shows how good Mercedes is generally with their strategy. They do get it wrong on occasion. Austria 2018 comes to mind. But they’re a heck of a lot better at strategy than Ferrari. I don’t know how that’s even debatable.

        1. ’14 – ’17 they lost only 9 races when you have a car that fast your strategy team looks like geniuses!

  2. It’s finally twigged what Ferrari’s 2019 mission is.

    We Implode Now Not One Win

  3. Jean-Christophe
    25th May 2019, 20:10

    They did in Singapore last year. Lewis almost got knocked out.

    1. Almost.. That’s the difference

      1. Jean-Christophe
        26th May 2019, 0:54

        Was a risk nonetheless.

        1. Indeed, though (as ever) if you look at what Hamilton actually said (and not racefans misleading headline):

          “We don’t really take any risks like that that”

          He is not saying they never take risks, just their tendency is to not to, rendering your comment moot.

  4. Good going Lewis. Rub it on their incompetent faces.

    1. Yeah, and I thought the
      “Now that’s what I’am talking about “ cry from Lewis was in the same vein.

  5. MISSION WINNOW? More like MISSION MINNOW with whichever rsclowns are in charge of making tactical decisions. Chalk & Cheese these 2 top runner teams.
    The end is nigh for SV too. How many more unforced errors will the Ferrs put up with from him?
    As for giving CL a knee in the balls at his home race? Unforgiveable.

  6. Adan Finnell
    26th May 2019, 8:55

    Firing the man who brought the team to almost win the championship for two seasons in a row while promoting the guy who designed a very bad car in the last several season is the real problem in Ferrari. It looks to me the usual Italian problem in the job market: promoting politics and friends, while firing delivering members of the team. Binotto is totally out of place both in terms of head of the engineers and team principal. He doesn’t have any communicative skills required both for marketing and political presence in F1 and I personally doubt other more technical skills. Letting him controlling 3 key places of the team, literally making him controlling himself is a total nonsense to me.

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