Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Istanbul Park, 2021

Leclerc has “no regrets” after losing podium with strategy gamble

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc says he doesn’t regret Ferrari’s strategic gamble in the Turkish Grand Prix, despite dropping out of the top three positions as a result of it.

The Ferrari driver ran nearly the whole Turkish Grand Prix on the intermediate tyres he started on. By staying out later than Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, Leclerc inherited the lead on lap 37.

He stayed at the front for nine laps. However his tyres began to fade and he eventually pitted on lap 48, after being overtaken by Bottas.

Leclerc was content with the decision to risk staying out on worn tyres. “I had all the info I needed at that time and once Valtteri pitted I was asking quite a lot on the radio: ‘okay, what are the lap times [for] Valtteri on the new inters?'” Leclerc explained.

“For the first five or six laps we were actually more or less in line with his pace. So for me, it was clear that I know it was not just rolling the dice. I was glad we were all confident with that choice.”

The slow rate at which the track dried out made for “a bit of a strange race”, said Leclerc. He and other drivers experienced several laps of graining on the intermediate tyres before they yielded quicker times.

“The new inters for six, seven laps had a graining phase,” Leclerc explained. “And then once you went through the graining phase, then you were finding a lot of pace again and that’s basically exactly what happened.”

Despite finishing a place lower than he started, Leclerc said he had “no regrets”, though he admitted the decision to run a lower-downforce set-up hadn’t helped his progress in the damp conditions.

“It probably wasn’t the optimal configuration for today,” he admitted. “But I was actually surprised by our pace. The car was moving, but was competitive.

“We cannot hope for much more, especially on the first stint, [than] to be on the same pace as Max [Verstappen]. It was a good first stint, so I don’t know what would have been possible with the other configuration.”

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2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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8 comments on “Leclerc has “no regrets” after losing podium with strategy gamble”

  1. That’s the spirit. A gamble that easily could have paid 📴
    Takes responsibility for his own decision.

  2. Super race by Leclerc and brave gamble, but just like Mercedes, Ferrari should have overriden Charles as they had the data. Or should have, you never know with Ferrari. Their strategy department leaves a lot to be desired.

    Reply moderated
  3. A long shot for a win vs. a fairly sure podium (but no chance for a win) by pitting. Charles didn’t have so much to lose, it’s not like he is fighting for the WDC and needs every point. So I support his decision, even if the proverbial 20/20 hindsight says he was wrong

  4. Leclerc inherited the lead on lap 37.
    He stayed at the front for nine laps. However his tyres began to fade and he eventually pitted on lap 48, after being overtaken by Bottas.’

    37 plus nine equals 48? Reminds me of the 9 plus 10 equals 21 meme haha. Also Bottas passed Leclerc for the lead on lap 48 itself, so it really should be 11 laps.

  5. I am a little conflicted by this. If Leclerc was the only Ferrari driver in the race, I would agree that the gamble they went for made sense. There was ample communication between the driver and team and decisions were taken jointly and they tried for a long shot.

    But Leclerc wasn’t the only Ferrari driver. Carlos went on the new set on lap 36 (near the sweet spot of changing) and Ferrari would have known by lap 40-42 that the new inters were faster once the initial graining of 3 or 4 laps was done. If not Carlos, that data could be observed for the others who stopped in the lap 33-38 window. Ideally, Leclerc should have pitted around 42 / 43 based on this data. He would have come out with a healthy buffer to Perez and I feel could have even challenged Max for 2nd.

    1. Yes they really should have figured this out

      Reply moderated
    2. It’s very simple: ferrari doesn’t win since a couple of years, they had some chances at monaco, silverstone, and when they get a chance they go for it, even at the risk of losing points, I’d do the same.

  6. Noob gamble from the team. Very noob. Team very noob.

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