Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2021

Leclerc ‘lost 40 points due to bad luck’ – Binotto

2021 F1 season

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Charles Leclerc deserved a better finishing position in the drivers’ championship according to Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto.

He pointed out two races which cost Leclerc dearly in the standings at the end of the year. Leclerc ended the season seventh, six points away from fifth place, which was taken by team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr.

“I’m very happy to see the progress he has made this season,” Binotto said of Leclerc’s third year at the team, and first since Sainz’s arrival. “He’s always been very fast in the quali, even in the last part of the season where maybe Carlos was challenging him a bit more, he has always been very fast.”

Binotto named the Monaco and Hungarian grands prix as two rounds which cost Leclerc dearly. He took pole position at the former after crashing on his final lap in Q3, but failed to start the race when the team discovered overnight repairs to his car had not been successful. In Hungary he was taken out on the first lap by Lance Stroll.

“We should not forget that in his season, there are a couple of examples, which is Monaco and Budapest, where he didn’t score but I think he has been unlucky as a driver in those occasions,” said Binotto.

“Without that, it’s difficult to say what he would have finished at the end of the race, but maybe at least 40 points missing on his classification. So without that again I think he would have been a lot further ahead in the championship.”

An extra 40 points would have lifted Leclerc to fourth in the standings at the end of the year, ahead of Sergio Perez.

“That’s why, again, I can only judge very positively his season,” said Binotto. “He has learned furthermore how to manage the tyres, how to manage the race situations and the race pace. So I’m quite pleased on the progress he made.”

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26 comments on “Leclerc ‘lost 40 points due to bad luck’ – Binotto”

  1. Hungary was bad luck but Monaco was his own fault by crashing because if he didn’t several drivers were on a much faster lap then him so he wouldn’t be on pole. A bit nonsense from Binotto.

    1. Tend to agree that these what if’s are a little nonsensical. I mean to have any meaning – and even then not a great deal – you’d need to look at every drivers luck in each of the races and adjust the whole field. (though I’d be lying if I said I had never ‘what iffed’ myself.)

      Still, it feels more like a ‘what the maximum could have been’, than a true tide of events against him.

    2. Nah, your comment is exagerated, verstappen and sainz were the only ones who could maybe beat leclerc, not bottas.

    3. I didn’t have to look far for that “not bad luck but his own mistake in Monaco” post.
      Which, to be honest it was

  2. 40pts for these 2 races? Lol.

    If he didn’t crash (not bad luck) he would not be on pole as some drivers couldnt finish their lap. Max had purple in s1 and s2.
    Probably he started 3th. Let’s assume 15pts, although Ferrari’s racepace was worse than quali.

    Then Hungary: many drivers were involved in that first corner mess. If that mess (Bottas , Stroll) didn’t happen Lec would be fighting for 6th place.

    Struggle to see more than 25pts.

    Of course it’s painful for Binotto that his highpaid teamlead gets beaten by Sainz in his first year. But pls stop nonsense excuses

    1. Did you say the same about crashing in qualifying meaning that a driver deserves not to start the race the next day? When Schumacher crashed out of French Qualifying and was able to restart the race with 0 penalties? , or Russel in Zandvoort and was able to start the race with 0 penalties?, or Sainz in Hungary who was able to start the race with 0 penalties? No, because a crash in qualifying isn’t usually as mocked as Leclerc has been for him crashing out in qualifying around the most difficult qualifying circuit in the world.

      What cost Leclerc starting was his mechanics not repairing a part they could have replaced without risking a penalty. Drivers have always crashed in qualifying over the years and they are able to start the race the next day with 0 issues or mocking, because it’s not an uncommon thing like people act.

      As for him not getting pole if he didn’t crash, that’s not likely considering Leclerc was always 2 to 3 tenths slower in sector 1, and usually 3 to 4 tenths faster in sector 2 and 2 tenths faster in sector 3. So other drivers always went purple in sector 1, it was sector 2 and 3 where Leclerc worked the magic. Verstappen didn’t even cross the timing line of sector 2 so didn’t set a purple time like someone claimed.

      As for Hungary, the Stroll incident was unrelated to the Bottas incident so if Stroll hadn’t happened then Leclerc would have been fighting for a podium.

      As for other points where he lost out on points, jn Russia Ferrari didn’t want to double stop in the rain and left Leclerc out to dry after he went from p18 to p4, then the red flag in Imola cost him p2, red flag in Saudi Arabia cost him p4. Whereas looking at the drivers around him, Sainz and Norris, Sainz had 2 slow pitstops, that was all his bad luck, and Norris had 2 slow punctures. Not comparable I would think.

      Sorry this turned out so long but I wanted to make it clear I’m not blindly saying these things, there is proof etc.

      1. The team was responsible for many points lost by both Leclerc and Sainz. I remember the big error in Monaco, for Leclerc, but also the multiple terrible pit stops Sainz (at least four) that Sainz suffered this year, losing many positions.

    2. Yeah, when I saw this I just for a second thought about Norris who finished right behind Leclerc. I think Norris could be said to have “lost” at least 50 points I can easily think of in a minute and would be way ahead of both Ferrari drivers @trib4udi.

      In the end, it is just the old “what if” game, right.

    3. Wow, so you’re saying there’s no 1-2 at Ferrari! Amazing!

  3. 4 is generous. I think at the most 10 points for Budapest and Monaco was his fault. He would have finished just aa smidgen ahead of Sainz then. Which I think is a fair reflection of how his season went. Although, he should have won Silverstone, that snap of oversteer came at the wrong time.

    1. Also with a proper penalty to hamilton he should’ve won silverstone.

  4. The way I see Monaco is that Leclerc made the error to crash in qualifying, but it was Ferrari who made the error of not changing his gearbox. So Leclerc really should have started sixth, and from there I think would have finished fourth. So he lost 12 points through bad luck. And in Hungary, that is really not possible to determine where he should have finished because so many others were also taken out through no fault of their own. But he would have beaten Sainz there without the first lap carnage, so that is an example of bad luck meaning he finished behind Sainz in the championship.

    1. @f1frog Just nitpicking a little but his gearbox wasn’t broken in Monaco, it was the left side driveshaft I think, which is an item that can be replaced without penalty. So if Ferrari had petitioned the FIA to let them investigate that part of the car they likely would have been allowed to replace it and still start on pole. But because it was the opposite side of the car Ferrari assumed it was ok so never asked permission to check it.

      But still, the Monaco crash was his fault and he would have been exceedingly lucky to benefit from it given he denied others the chance of beating his time.

  5. What about the terrible 4 pit stop Sainz have during the season, no-one mention, no one remember? Do you remember Mttia o you do not want to remember and mention to save Leclerc year!!

    1. Calm down Richard. Sainz had 2 or 3 slow pitstops that cost him 1 or 2 positions, so maybe 2 or 3 points? Not comparable to Leclerc’s bad luck in Imola (red flag cost him easy p2), Hungary (strolled into by Stroll, cost him a podium considering he was running 5th before Bottas did bowling ahead of him), Should have won Silverstone (if not for the engine cuts costing him 4 seconds and Lewis not getting a proper penalty), then Russia (where Ferrari didn’t want to double stack in the rain and left Leclerc out to dry when he was running in p4), then there was Saudi Arabia (red flag cost him an easy p4), and finally Abu Dhabi (a bad strategy from Ferrari cost Leclerc a p4 behind Sainz because Lando would have got the puncture, this bad strategy alone cost Leclerc p5 in the drivers standings as he went into the final race 9 points ahead and in p5 in drivers standings). So, do you want to talk again about Carlos’ “4” wittle slow pitstops? :( boo hoo

  6. Not as many as Lando then!

  7. Yeah, bad luck. And Mazepin lost 555 points due to not having the luck to drive in a car that could finish in the points.

    1. Mazepin has nothing to do with this . The fact is sainz was relatively luckier than leclerc and Norris . In Abu Dhabi he was promoted to 3rd. Same thing happened in Budapest . I do give him the credit for maximizing the situation when teammate is not scoring or low scoring . But still the fact remains that a combo of few DNFs and red flags at wrong time ( imola / Saudi ) and other conditions did screw up leclerc race when he was going well in race . Similarly for Norris in second half he was also unlucky

      1. Of course he didn’t, it was sarcasm.

        But I still don’t think it was luck. Sainz is just better than Leclerc, certainly the second half of the season. Sainz is in his 4th Team and that is showing now. I think he didn’t like the fact that he had to go from team to team, but the experience is worth the pain. He learned what he liked and what he doesn’t . Since he has the ‘McLaren’ layout steering wheel in his Ferrari it’s going way better.

        Every driver in his 1st year with a new team is struggling this year, but sainz isn’t. He came out on top.

        Sainz will make Ferrari regret they signed a long contract with Leclerc and telling the world he is the chosen one.

        1. I disagree on how you say he is better just because he scored 5.5 points more . Sainz is an excellent addition. I agree he is more consistent in races and that’s where Charles is lacking but I am sure he will iron it out . Both of them are a great team together . The question is what happens if ferrari car is title contending . That’s where we will see it decided on track by raw pace

  8. Much to lenient punishment for LH in UK race also cost him a race victory.

  9. Binotto named the Monaco and Hungarian grands prix as two rounds which cost Leclerc dearly. He took pole position at the former after crashing on his final lap in Q3, but failed to start the race when the team discovered overnight repairs to his car had not been successful. In Hungary he was taken out on the first lap by Lance Stroll.

    Whilst crashing in Monaco Q3 was Leclerc’s fault, he was still unlucky given the consequences of the crash, when Sainz crashed in quali, even more often than him, it didn’t have the same impact. But he can’t be absorbed completely either, because drivers should take responsibility in minimizing damage even when they crash. It’s not coincidence that Verstappen and Alonso, the best drivers of this season (for at least 2/3 of the season in Alonso’s case), did not lose a big amount of points even when they did crash as a result of unforced errors, spinning or slightly losing control of the car. For sure there are merits on rapidly taking control and minimising damage, it’s at least partially not luck determined, as well as choosing wisely which risks to take and at which time. For this reason Leclerc’s Monaco excuse made by Binotto should not be fully accepted, only partially, from a driving performance point of view.

  10. Personally still impressed by Leclerc and my opinion of him being in the top 3 on the grid hasn’t changed
    He’s still our golden boy to win a future WDC

    1. @jeorge

      Personally still impressed by Leclerc and my opinion of him being in the top 3 on the grid hasn’t changed

      If not amongst the three best drivers of the season, then he’s definitively still in the top-4 of the driving performance rankings, even if he was outscored by Sainz, not necessarily follows that performance is proportionally correspondent to the points tally.

  11. Sainz simply isn’t getting the praise he deserves. He came to a new team, almost immediately got on pace and outscored his teammate who had been there for years. It’s not luck.

    1. Sainz is getting praise but leclerc is being unnecessarily criticized. To be honest 2021 will be a good lesson for leclerc . He needs to up his consistency because his teammate is very capable. I think if ferrari do make a great car as per rumors then leclerc will shine improving upon this year

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