Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Singapore, 2019

Radio message gave Leclerc hope Ferrari would give him the lead back

2019 Singapore Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc said a radio message from Ferrari gave him hope they would give him back the lead of the Singapore Grand Prix after he lost it to his team mate when he pitted.

Ferrari brought Sebastian Vettel in for his pit stop one lap before Leclerc. That allowed him to gain the benefit of fresher tyres sooner, and meant he moved ahead of Leclerc when the leading Ferrari pitted.

Leclerc said after the race he expects an explanation from Ferrari why his car wasn’t the first to pit.

“The only thing, the only answer I need really, is that there was no other way for us to be first and second in the same order [as] before the pit stop,”he said. “This is the only answer I need.

“I don’t know if I could have stopped earlier. I’m pretty sure it was not possible otherwise I would have done that because you normally never undercut one car with the other in the same team. So I’m pretty sure this was the case but I just need confirmation.”

He added that after he fell behind Vettel, a radio message from Ferrari led Leclerc to hope they would restore the two drivers to their original running order.

“At one point I had a message on the radio that maybe gave me a small hope that they will give us back the position as it was before the pit stop. But at the end at the end it didn’t happen. It’s OK, at the it’s a one-two for the team.

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17 comments on “Radio message gave Leclerc hope Ferrari would give him the lead back”

  1. Vitaly Kukshin
    23rd September 2019, 7:49

    “…you normally never undercut one car with the other in the same team.”

    LOL! Ferrari did exactly that during Monaco 2017 GP.

    1. Actually no, there Vettel managed to overcut Kimi by putting in two quick laps on older tyres. There was no undercut then.

      1. Vitaly Kukshin
        23rd September 2019, 9:37

        I think Kimi is not really sure about that :) Anyway the way they did it looked exactly like switching cars without formal team order. Listen to Kimi’s interview he really felt like he was robbed by the team.

        1. Undercut -> pit before your rival, get back on track on fresher tyres and lap faster than the rival, so when that rival pits, he rejoins the track behind you.

          Overcut -> stay out while your rival pits, lap faster than your rival, and then pit some laps later so when you rejoin the track, your rival is behind you.

          1. Ok, you’ve got the technicalities right, nevertheless the team still made all those manoeuvres to favor Vettel, didn’t them?

  2. Funny thing was it was his own doing, slowing down cars in 1st stint meant Verstappen and Hamilton were too close behind to do a swap.

    1. Also Vettel had opened a nice gap and he was quicker in disposing off the traffic.

  3. I think this has blown way out of proportion.

    Ferrari did the right thing. Had they not pitted when Verstappen did, at the next lap around they would have to pit Charles. Lewis would also probably pit and this would probably turn an 1-3 to a 1-4. Instead, they got an 1-2.

    Besides that, as Binotto said (and I believe him), nobody expected the undercut to be worth almost 4secs. I certainly didn’t, as the pace Charles was at until lap 19 was way too slow for the tyres to fade that much.

    So they probably expected Charles to be out in front of Vettel, but as you can see from the distance between Vettel and Verstappen when they crossed the start – finish line, Vettel did a mega out lap in cold hard tyres, which couldn’t have been easy.

    Now should they have switched them around? Maybe, but Vettel wasn’t going to comply with that without any drama and losing your cool in a street circuit can be catastrophic.

    Bottom line, Ferrari aced the strategy in this one, Charles will be a bit disappointed but if you ask me who comes out stronger from the last three race, it’s him rather than Vettel.

    1. Exactly. Way out of proportion. Ferrari for once executed a good strategy and bagged 1-2 on a track that few months ago could have been a total disaster for them.

      1. For the 1st time they got strategy calls right and only reason it being blown out of proportions is due to temper tantrum Leclerc threw over the radio.

    2. +1
      Vettel probably would have lost a place to Max if they pitted Charles first and kept Vettel out after Max pitted, then it would have been a one and four for Ferrari, or even possibly a two and four because Hamilton would have had free air and seem to have the pace to take the first place with no cars to impede him.

      1. Vitaly Kukshin
        23rd September 2019, 9:43

        So what you’re saying basically, by pitting Vettel first they basically moved him from 4th (supposed outcome) to 1st, and that was Charles’ place, and his priority to pit, they could easily switch cars after that. That’s where “unfair” came in.

        “But I think the rule of thumb… the rule is pretty clear when you qualify ahead and you are ahead in the first stint, you get priority on the first stop.” – Vettel after Monaco 17.

        1. General rules do not always apply. It’s fully applicable when you have two cars leading the race with a good cushion towards the rest. When you’re running 1-3 with everyone closely together and you want to maximize, then maybe not so much.

          They executed a great strategy to get the 1-2. Other than that Vettel just looked faster, from doing a mega outlap to navigating traffic to getting the necessary gaps after SC’s.

      2. @aliced look at you behaving like a normal person for a change instead of spewing venom and nonsense. Guess we need Seb handed a victory now and then to mellow out his troll army sometimes ey.

  4. Get over it, say I.

  5. The only thing that really baffles me is that almost everyone else missed the spot. Vettel came out in free air after his stop and with Leclerc bunching up the field in the first stint to protect them from the undercut and degradation the leading cars were only waiting for an appropriate gap to open up behind. Red Bull nailed it and Ferrari reacted accordingly. I don’t know if Leclerc was already past the pit lane entry when Ferrari realised Verstappen was about to pit. But still, it was obvious on the timing screens that there was a nice gap to rejoin in front of traffic, crucial to perform the undercut. So Ferrari should have pitted Leclerc that lap and so should have Mercedes/Hamilton regardless of what the direct opponents at the front do. That was just the moment everyone in the leading group was waiting for during the first stint. At one point Kvyat was lapping 2 seconds per lap quicker than Leclerc after the Russian stopped and rejoined in clear air as a clear proof of how much there was left pace wise.

    It’s just hard to get your head around the fact that all the strategists and engineers with every kind of parameters and data available missed or at least misjudged that so fundamentally. I personally thought that’s what the teams’ focus is on anyway with on-track overtaking oviously not an option.

  6. It’s easy to comment when we have all the facts…. But what nobody knew at the time, was WHEN a safetycar would come out, for how long, and how may times….
    If there had been no SC in this race, maby they all pitted too early, ran out of tires and HAM/MERC was the King of strategy.
    Or if the SC har been deployed while VER, VET, LEC had pitted, HAM would have plenty og time to get ahead.
    MERC probably meant it was too early to out, got caught by surprise by their rivals, and ws left with no other choise than to hope traffic was stopping the frontrunners or the night SC would lend a helping hand….

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