Leclerc “went too far” in Monaco GP comeback bid – Brawn

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc’s desperation to make up for his team’s error in qualifying led to a race-ending misjudgement, says Formula 1’s motorsport director Ross Brawn.

The Ferrari driver started his home race from 15th on the grid after being left in the pits by his team during the final stages of Q1. That led him to make an “impetuous” error when trying to pass Nico Hulkenberg, said Brawn.

“Charles went too far and paid a high price for his impetuousness,” said Brawn.

“His reaction was understandable, however. It’s his home race and his first attempt at it with a front-running team. It was supposed to be a special moment but it ended only in disappointment.”

Leclerc clipped a barrier while trying to pass Hulkenberg, puncturing his right-rear tyre. That then damaged his car’s floor as he drove back to the pit, ultimately forcing him out of the race.

Although Sebastian Vettel scored Ferrari’s best result of the season so far with second place, Brawn believes that flattered their performance on a weekend when they were out-performed by Red Bull as well as Mercedes.

“It was a difficult weekend for Ferrari, although it ended with their best result of the year,” said Brawn. “Vettel’s second place came at the end of a race in which he didn’t play a key role, sitting behind [Max] Verstappen throughout but unable to really worry the Dutchman.

“It reflected a weekend during which the Scuderia was the third strongest team. That was predictable given what we saw in Barcelona, where the car struggled, especially in the third sector of that track. The season seems to be getting away from the Maranello team, but it’s not the time to give up and it must learn from its mistakes if it wants to move forward.”

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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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33 comments on “Leclerc “went too far” in Monaco GP comeback bid – Brawn”

  1. How are the 2021 regs coming along, buddy?

    1. Is he wrong? Verstappen started from a similar position last year in a car with similar pace advantage over the midfield and lasted the entire race not a measly 15 laps.

      1. Personally, I’d prefer FIA and FOM staff to not offer commentary, unless it was something related to the regulations (e.g. Charlie commenting on a driver’s action that triggered some stewarding decision).

        What he says is perfectly valid, it’s just the source that bothers me. Like a referee/umpire/linesman offering commentary on a team’s performance after a match they were involved in.

        1. @phylyp Also what I thought. My view is probably exacerbated by the other news that a lot of things we could hope for regulation-wise is about to be abandoned.

          1. Indeed, @spoutnik , indeed.

        2. Same here, @phylyp.
          I rate Ross very highly but do not want him to comment, in such a detailed manner, on operational matters of teams or drivers.

        3. @phylyp I understand where you’re coming from, but I think it’s nice to be reminded that those at the top are still as much a racefan (or F1 fanatic) as the rest of us. So long as it isn’t negatively impacting on his ability to do his job he shouldn’t be a victim of censorship, particularly considering his long-standing affinity to the sport.

          1. @ninjenius – that is a reasonable counterpoint.

            Maybe Ross should just start commenting on these articles. Or maybe he already does… Maybe he’s the mysterious ‘anon’ :-)

          2. @ninjenius I back this viewpoint. Especially as Ross was very much brought in as someone who represented the voice of the fans after years of discontent with the authoritarian Bernie era.

        4. As per usual, @phylyp, you express a cogent point. It bothers me, too, to see FIA and FOM representatives come out with potentially partisan comments.

      2. VER even managed to pass a lot of drivers on tack and some during well timed pit stops.
        Being impetuous is not the way to go in Monaco, Lec learnod the hard way.

        1. typing… brr.. track, learned

        2. lol VER finished p9, which is worthless for any top team. LEC was right do avoid doing what VER did.

    2. “How are the 2021 regs coming along, buddy?”

      Probably a lot better than they would be with anyone other than Ross Brawn in charge i’d hazard.

      1. Well considering how terrible Ross brawns last aero change has been I dont think that’s a good thing.

  2. No, no, no.

    What was he supposed to do? Sit behind all of the slower cars? Or actually give overtaking a go. From where he was he had to do what Monaco is known for- gambling. He rolled the dice and lost this time, had he made the pass stick and done a couple more then he’d have been a hero.

    1. @mattb – I’m not sure if Leclerc could have driven back more cautiously (thereby saving his floor), because to me it looked like he was angry after the puncture, drove faster than warranted, and destroyed his floor (and race) in the process. A slower return might have still had him at the back of the pack, but with a healthier car. Not to mention that Leclerc has dented his “mature beyond his years” reputation.

      Also, a commenter made an excellent point a day or so ago – Leclerc feinted at Grosjean once before, thereby mentally preparing Grosjean to expect another attempt, which Grosjean saw and very fairly gave him room. He didn’t do the same with the Hulk, so it’s likely that the Hulk took a normal line (and that could have gone either way, badly for the Hulk or Leclerc).

    2. Brawn simply stated the obvious – I assume in response to a question about it. There’s a balance to be struck between taking risks and not overtaking, and Leclerc didn’t get it right.

      In my opinion, the problem was really that Leclerc couldn’t accept how badly qualifying had screwed his race. He should have understood that simply getting into the points was about the best he could hope for. As it is, it seems he was overaggressive because he felt he was losing out being stuck behind slower cars for too long, when I fact it was never on the cards to cut through the field fast enough to get a good finish.

    3. @mattb There is a grey area between sit behind other cars and actually giving overtaking a go. Prior to his beautiful overtake on Grosjean, Leclerc examined Grosjeans line through Rascasse, therefore knowing he could have a go. With Hülkenberg he went in there straight away. When Hülkenberg took a tighter line, there was nowhere for Leclerc to go. Of course he should try to overtake, but in this case it was better to find Hülkenbergs weak spot first.

      1. It was NOT beautiful! It was ” I’m coming through, get out the way”. It required a very compliant driver in Grosjean to allow it to happen at all. The fact Hulk wasn’t as compliant is Leclercs fault completely. He will learn I guess but think this puts to bed the “mature beyond his years” nonsense. He is a very good young driver with much to learn. MUCH to learn.

      2. @matthijs
        Grosjean pretty much left the door open twice, fail.

        The overtake on Hulkenberg: at first i also thought Hulkenberg squeezed a little, after some replays it looks more like LeClerc didn’t make the corner. He was on a line that would have clipped the barrier. Only if Hulkenberg would have vaporized he would have made the corner (by steering out of it). If he would have done it with Hulkenberg there and steered out, he would have wheel banged Hulkenberg into the barrier.

        Looks like LeClerc has the spatial awareness of a Rosberg/Bottas/Vettel by no means bad, but not level Hamilton/Verstappen?

    4. Give overtaking a go by all means. However I could see he was going to crash from the first few laps. He was far too reckless. Also I was very disappointing to see such bad sportsmanship too. When there was the big blockage just before the pitlane he forced his way past an Alfa despite that car being clearly in front before the incident. The Alfa and Leclerc were waiting for the Williams to move with the Alfa clearly in a position to move first but Leclerc pushed forward… It would be fair enough if the other car could not go anywhere but he clearly could so Leclerc should have waited.

  3. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    28th May 2019, 10:47

    He got impatient and did that mistake. He was great against Grosjean and it worked but got greedy with Hulkenberg. After the puncture, he was furious as was natural but was driving in a way that could destroy the whole chassis. He is still young and he has time to learn but he has to iron those mistakes.

  4. Leclerc had nothing to lose and did an excellent job in passing cars before the incident which gave him the puncture.

    It was entertaining and brave and well done him.

    His mistake was the speed in getting back to the pits. That showed immaturity in the anger and frustration which wrecked a million Euro car.

    If he had got back without serious damage we might have seen more exciting passes.

    1. So he did an “excellent job” in giving himself a puncture. Bravo Leclerc, BRAVO.

      1. In that case: We want more, we want more! New Maldonado in the making.

  5. Frustration with a clumsy team drove Leclerc on and he had nothing to lose and did an excellent job in passing cars before the incident which gave him the puncture.

    It was entertaining and brave and well done him.

    His mistake was the speed in getting back to the pits. That showed immaturity in the anger and frustration which wrecked a million Euro car.

    If he had got back without serious damage we might have seen more exciting passes.

  6. I’m ok with his attempt, the race was lost on Saturday, as we know. There is no point in getting some points, they’re not racing for the WC anymore. The only regret is that his race was spectacular and the whole GP became the usual procession after that.

    Anyway, I think that the move in RG was very good and very well prepared. He made himself visible a couple of times at Rascasse and Romain was in a way expecting him there; he didn’t close the door and saved both drivers’ race. That is definetely not a place where you expect someone on the inside, so I thing a couple of laps behind Nico could have helped in passing him more cleanly.

    1. “There is no point in getting some points, they’re not racing for the WC anymore.”

      @m-bagattini – I agree that Ferrari aren’t racing Mercedes for the WCC, but they are surely racing RBR. It won’t look good for Binotto if they slip to 3rd in the constructors’ standings :)

      Gasly’s form seems to be improving, so that’ll mean fewer points that RBR leave on the table.

  7. I agree with him to some extent.

  8. He had the 2nd best car of the grid beneath him. He couldn’t overtake, but had a car that would make the tyres last longer than everybody else around him. If he was cautious, a points score finish was more than possible with a good strategy running longer than the guys around him, and that would be totally acceptable as a good performance too. He was too far in the back to want more.

    He chose to be a hero and forgot that apart from Bianchi, everybody else who tried to be a hero on those streets failed, and thus he delivered a trully embarassing performance. Thats not what you expect from a top driver and him being angry doesnt mean a thing.

    1. Totally agree. Making a pass at Monaco is maybe like making an NBA three-pointer. If you are really good, you might make half. A strategy based on making them all is foolish. It’s a long race and crazy things can happen, so stay cool and look for strategic options.

  9. I don’t mind the overtake mistake so much as him speeding back to the pits. There was no point to it, it was just anger.

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