A fourth-place finish was on the cards for Charles Leclerc before an electrical problems forced him out, according to Ferrari.
Ferrari believe his one-stop strategy would have allowed him to finish between the two Racing Points – one-stopping Sergio Perez in fourth and two-stopping Lance Stroll in fifth – and Perez’s five-second penalty would have given Leclerc fourth.
“Charles looked after his tyres well in the first stint and managed to go to lap 29, thus in the window to switch to a one-stop, given that he had a set of new mediums to use,” explained Ferrari’s head of racing strategy Inaki Rueda.
“In fact once Pierre Gasly, who’d been ahead of him, had stopped, Charles had a clear track ahead of him and was able to push. At this point, given that he was running at a good pace, we asked him to try to go to at least lap 28, which we knew was essential for the change of strategy to work and so it was.
“Charles soon dispensed with Daniil Kvyat and got in behind Lando Norris. He was much quicker than him at that point in the race and we were certain that some drivers up ahead would be making a second stop and some others would really struggle to make it to the end.
“In fact, only Sergio Perez made the same choice as us, and given the penalty he was given, that’s how Charles could reasonably have finished fourth. Unfortunately, a control unit failure put an end to that goal.”
Leclerc’s team mate Sebastian Vettel finished the race seventh after making a single pit stop.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
2020 F1 season
- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers
- 2020 F1 driver rankings #1: Lewis Hamilton