Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2022

Ferrari threw Monaco GP win away with “too many mistakes” – Leclerc

2022 Monaco Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc said his Ferrari team threw victory away in Monaco with two strategic errors which left him screaming in frustration.

He led the opening stages of the rain-hit race before coming in to switch from full wet to intermediate tyres. However his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr did not switch to intermediates, choosing instead to move directly to the slick tyres, and Leclerc said his change was the first mistake of the afternoon.

“Obviously in those conditions you rely a little bit on what the team can see because you don’t see what the others are doing with intermediates, with dry tyres,” he told Sky.

“I [was] asked questions whether I wanted to go from extreme wets to the slicks, and I said ‘yes but not now’. It would be a bit later on in the race. I don’t understand what made us change our minds and go on this intermediate.

“We got undercut and I stopped behind Carlos. There’s been a lot of mistakes and we cannot afford to do that. It’s hard as it’s been the other years here so I’m getting used to getting back home disappointed. But we cannot do that.

“Especially in the moment that we are in now. We are extremely strong now, our pace is strong, we need to take those opportunities. We cannot lose so many points like this. It’s not even from first to second, it’s from first to fourth because after the first mistakes we’ve done another one. I love my team and I am sure we will come back stronger but it hurts a lot.”

Leclerc said the first mistake was “a very clear decision, and a very wrong one, and from that moment onwards the mess started.”

That tyre swap allowed Sainz to get ahead of him. Leclerc then followed his team mate into the pits on the same lap when both changed to slick tyres. Ferrari attempted to tell him to stay out, but sent the message too late.

“Obviously the message that I had wasn’t clear, the last one wasn’t clear, because I was told to come in but then to stay out but I was already in the pit lane,” said Leclerc. “And that’s where I basically let it all out on the radio and screamed because I just couldn’t do anything and I knew that I was done.”

Asked whether he felt let down by the team, Leclerc said “Let down is not the word.

“Sometimes mistakes can happen but there have been too many mistakes today overall.”

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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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48 comments on “Ferrari threw Monaco GP win away with “too many mistakes” – Leclerc”

  1. That was the dumbest thing I’ve seen in a while. You have the feeling that Ferrari are always going racing for the first time in their history.

    1. Mark in Florida
      29th May 2022, 20:24

      (@tifoso1989)Thank you for saying this! I tried to post basically the same thing same similar wording and it got scratched! I don’t get it! So thanks. Ferrari are their own greatest enemy. They need to fire the whole pit wall and put competent race strategist in place. Their car is great but the team management is severely lacking.

      1. Mark in Florida,

        This is what baffles me. Ferrari have hired clever people in the race strategy department in recent years with exceptional pedigree and problem solving abilities. For example Ravin Jain who is the race strategy engineer is an Oxford graduate with a master’s degree in mathematical and theoretical physics. The guy is no joke when it comes to mental capacity and IQ. It’s similar for the rest of the guys. From what I’ve heard, from someone who interviewed at Ferrari, the interviews are tough as hell with regard to problem solving.

        I think the people are not the issue, there is something wrong in the process. Ferrari engineers are heavily relying on data analysis, software calculations, artificial intelligence… Sometimes a racing instinct and common sense are sufficient to make decisive strategy decisions. They seem to over analyse and over complicate simple situations.

        They need someone with racing knowledge and guts in the pitwall that will have the support of the strategy team that will do all the necessary calculations but it’s up to him to make strategy decisions on the fly and put everything on the line if necessary. This is just my opinion, Ferrari seem to be conservative in their strategy decisions. No one, is willing to make those bold moves probably fearing it may backfire but it is currently backfiring with the traditional approach.

        1. Right?

          I mean, if both of your drivers tell you to wait until they’re ready for slicks, you should at least consider it…

          Reminds me of Bottas on the radio last year: “Why the f did nobody listen to me when I told you it was going to be a two-stopper!”

          Ultimately, the driver is the one who can actually tell what the conditions and grip levels are. The strategy team in their booth can’t…

        2. Mark in Florida
          29th May 2022, 23:36

          (@tifoso1989) yes you are making excellent points in what you are saying. I work every day with mainly electrical engineers. They are mathematically brilliant but also clueless when it comes to practical application at times. Ferrari looks to have the problem of paralyses through analyses. Nobody to call the shots at the right moment. Ross Braun was brilliant at reading the race as it were and realizing when things needed to shift before the other teams did. Can you say that about Ferrari now? No! They are risk adverse, play it safe at all costs because that’s what the data tells us. They can blame the data but a leader needs to stand up and say we’re not doing that, this is what we need to do to win. Matteo is likeable and smart but he’s got to make a stand. Too many mistakes have happened on his watch.

          1. From the side it feels like lack of leadership. Ferrari have 20 years of technology development since the days of Ross Brawn, yet the don’t call the shots. It has to be admitted that Brawn had the comfort to be the boss of the racing team, and as he wrote in his book, he had Jean Todt behind his back to deal with everything else (mostly the Italian press). Today the strategy team seems like they are children looking for an adult to tell them what to do, then they realise they’re the adult, but by that time it’s already late. It’s been like this for years.

    2. The expected Ferrari implosion has fully begun. Even if they screwed up Leclerc’s strategy, they should still have retained the lead with Sainz. It’s unlikely that Ferrari will keep up the developmental pace with Red Bull, so throwing away these points and wins right now when Charles is in complete command is extra costly.

      1. Steveetienne
        30th May 2022, 9:17

        IMO barring dreadful reliability issues or other unforseen incidents this Championship is already Max’s, of course not mathematically so but I expect the title to be wrapped up with 4 or 5 races to go.

    3. @tifoso1989

      There’s no team that has perfected the art of dropping the ball, than Ferrari. How can this individual actually have a role of strategist at Ferrari, when he comes up with the solution worse that anything an amateur would come up with. If he isn’t fired after this race, it would be another blunder on Ferrari’s part.

      Ferrari has lost the WDC and WCC already. They’re not going to be able to keep up the car development to match Red Bull. Their only chance was to capitalise at the start of the season and then defend all season long. Leclerc’s experience with them is going to be very Alonso-esque. I think he should look at breaking the contract and moving to Mercedes once they get their act together.

      1. @todfod
        I have to agree with you on the first part. Though, I still maintain my personal opinion that the individuals are not the issue, there is something wrong in the process which is far beyond people. I believe with the current set up, even if you will put Elon Musk making strategic decisions at Ferrari he will still look dump. Something is wrong, whether it is the mentality of always going conservative at all costs, people are afraid to risk…

        For the second part, you have to consider the fact that RBR are limited this year with the budget cap with regard to how much development they are allowed to make. The rumours suggest that they are already near the budget cap limit which means if true that no more development will be carried for the rest of the year. Ferrari have the best all around car, fast in every circuit, in all conditions and most important on every tyre compound. It only lagged to RBR on the straights and in the tyre management department.

        Ferrari addressed those issues with the Spanish GP upgrade package that worked as expected after they were running with the test-spec car for the first races. RBR on the other hand were upgrading heavily their car in every race which will stop soon. Ferrari in Monaco didn’t bring any upgrade at all and was easily the fastest car which suggest that there is still performance to unlock.

        Horner is already whining about the budget cap and is threatening to throw the sport into dispute. The development race will be decided by the budget cap and on the fact whether or not teams will be allowed to exceed the budget or not.

        1. @bascb

          Agree that red bull has overshot it’s development budget.. But I don’t see them staying static on car development. They would exploit some loophole or just break the rules in a sly manner to keep development efforts ongoing, and deal with the fia and consequences later. Fia doesn’t want to spoil the championship or change any results due to the budget cap… And I see Horner taking full advantage of that.

          1. Yes, that fits the ethos at Red Bull perfectly @todfod.

          2. @todfod
            I think you have precisely predicted how the season will unfold. Spot on !

        2. @tifoso1989 in talking about Horner “whining” about the budget cap, you might have missed that Ferrari have actually already admitted that they will not be able to meet the budget cap. So they seem to be even more in trouble. At this point Horner is trying to create a platform to raise the budget cap because they are good in in-season development, but it’s Ferrari who seem to have the biggest issues with meeting the cap.
          Red Bull haven’t been upgrading the car “heavily” in each race. They are bringing smaller updates often, Ferrari bring a larger package less often. There is no way for us to know which team have spent the most.

          1. @mattds
            It’s just an opinion based on the rumours going on in the paddock. Binotto said that they will not be able to meet the budget come the end of the year and will probably over spend and will fall into the category of minor breaches where overspending is less than 5 millions euro. RBR are believed to have already spent the majority of their budget (to be confirmed).

            Ferrari brought a major upgrade package in Spain after running almost with the same test spec car – with exception of Jeddah where they brought a rear wing – for the first 6 races. RBR, have also brought a major upgrade package in Spain too. They have also brought a heavily revised car before the start of the season and were bringing upgrades in every race.

  2. Ganesh Krishnasamy
    29th May 2022, 19:17

    Leclerc did everything right from winning the like to keep it straight in keeping his lead. The match is lost in the strategy and in the pitcalls. Don’t demotivate a great driver with the wrong calls and strategies.

    1. Ganesh Krishnasamy
      29th May 2022, 19:18

      *Winning the pole

  3. Ferrari manage to screw up while looking professional an well dressed.

  4. An all-Italian dream instead of simply grabbing the best possible, combined with fool managers who are not even good enough to manage 3 dogs together, is the summary of the long-standing situation.

  5. Didn’t Sainz make the call himself to go directly on to slicks? If so, that’s not an error, it’s Sainz making a smarter call.
    I get why Leclerc is frustrated, it was probably the fastest but at Monaco that matters mostly in qualifying – and then there’s a big part that’s still a lottery.

    1. Just like Jnr, Leclerc also had told the team to wait for the slick tires, but they still manage to sht in his race. So big congratulations to the strategy team.

    2. @david-br
      Spot on ! It’s not the first time that Carlos Sainz has questioned the strategy made by his pitwall. He did the exact same thing last in Hungary if I’m not wrong. He was running strongly with good pace and no tyre degradation and the team told him to pit. He opted to stay out and extend his stint which proved to be the right thing to do. The 1 stop strategy of Full Wet – Slick was the best strategy today. Though Ferrari pit panicked and it was badly executed as a result.

      The thing is Perez pitted for inters because Gasly who have had the luxury to gamble on them because he has nothing to lose has already gave an indication how fast he can go. He overtook Ricciardo in the swimming pool with brilliant traction. Ferrari did have 2 options ; commit to a 1 strategy as suggested by both drivers and switch only for slicks or just follow the trend and switch to inters. The risk was Sainz who didn’t have enough margin to the RBRs could have his race compromised.

      The thing is Leclerc with 5s advantage before the pit stops could have made both strategy work if Ferrari have committed to one of those options. Instead, they didn’t commit to anything, panicked and executed both stops badly. He could have covered Perez a lap after he stopped but they were napping and when it was too late they switched him on inters. Unbelievable !

      1. You’re 100% right!

        Ferrari has a tradition of not comitting to strategies and by not doing that they ruin both drivers’ races, even if they eventually split the strategies, but too late… This has obviously been the Scuderia’s Achilles heel for several years now (ask Kimi) and I don’t understand why they don’t get someone more capable to run their strategies department…

    3. PER’s call actually was a lot more inspired than SAI’s. In 6 laps he made 2 pit-stops compared to 1 stop for SAI, yet he managed to jump SAI who was 2sec ahead before the pit stops.

  6. I guess Ferrari wanted to pit Sainz to inters to cover the red bulls but he decided to stay out. Good call for him but this made Leclerc and Ferrari vulnerable to RB and I guess they decised too late to pit Lec on the same strategy as the Red Bulls. Poor teamwork by Ferrari

    1. True. But I think the overcut was surprisingly powerful given the conditions and nobody really predicted that. I mean, in just 2 laps of a short track, LEC lost 10sec to PER. Pretty sure RBR made a gamble too by pitting PER 1st, they didn’t know he’ll be able to lap like 5sec faster than LEC who was +7sec ahead. Most likely they wanted to get him behind VER too… just that things went too beautiful for PER and messed not only Ferrari’s plans, but his team’s plans to get VER ahead of him too.

      1. The Overcut has worked more this season even on dry race tracks. Can it then be a surprise that it could work even more on a wet track?

        1. I’d say yes. 5sec per lap, on a short track, Wets vs Inters… seems a lot. Some drivers changed to Inters laps before PER and they didn’t lap faster than LEC on Wets. Also, the fact that RBR did not pit VER 1st for Inters or next lap after PER means they weren’t sure of this gap in performance for sure, otherwise wouldn’t have thrown away the chance of passing both Ferraris with both cars. VER pitted on lap18 together with LEC just to mirror LEC’s strategy and try keep him within reach. Probably RBR wanted to try something else with the strategy when SAI said they keep Wets and go directly to Dry.

      2. That is called an undercut, not an overcut. (Perenz pitting 2 laps before Leclerc and thereby gaining the position)

        1. Correct. Undercut.

  7. the part Leclerc left out is the fact he lost a lot of time on those inters. Not sure what happened there.

    1. That’s what intrigues me too. LEC lost a lot of time or PER gained a lot of time? I think it’s more like PER gained a lot of time because after his 1st pit-stop on lap18, LEC came out behind PER, who pitted just 2 laps earlier, on lap16 and was +7sec behind. The final blow for LEC came 4 laps later when they all pitted again and he came behind VER too. Thing is, PER managed to overcut both Ferraris in just 6 laps, although he pitted 1 more time than SAI. Overall, I’d say that RBR was the better race car and that contributed too, at least a little bit.

      1. Not car related, inters was much faster than wet. Perez was lucky that he wasn’t hold of by Norris who stopped right after him. When Leclerc stopped for the inters the track was already better for the slicks. So wrong timing left him with the slowest tyre when it mattered most.

      2. Indeed not car related, leclerc was flying early on.

      3. Yeah, while waiting out and going directly for hards was the right strategy, Perez (and Verstappen) showed that theirs was not bad, but Leclerc/Ferrari waited too long with the switch. By then it was better to do as Sainz did and wait another few laps to get onto the slicks @mg1982, @seth-space.

        Sainz got done in losing time behind that Williams, although he might have been better off stopping a lap earlier, like Russel did. Leclerc was late onto the inters which lost him time running on worn wets, then the inters weren’t the right tyre anymore so he lost more time and then he lost in that pitstop. Although staying out would have probably lost him even more time and dropped him behind Russel, and possibly would have given Norris a chance at passing him towards the end.

  8. Ferrari needs time to build up experience in race strategy. It’s name may be old, but current team is new in competing for 1st place

  9. Ferrari managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    1. Not a new thing unfort.

  10. Sergey Martyn
    29th May 2022, 22:03

    Ferrari snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The only moment that was more stupid this weekend in Monaco was the marshals pushing Cordeels car back into the pit lane while pit exit was open during F2 feature race.

  11. Soon Leclerc will be spinning out of races in frustration. This is 2017 and 2018 again..

    1. Nah, vettel himself threw away 2018.

    2. I doubt he’ll drop his abilities to Vettel’s level… but yeah.. I can’t see him racing with such a cool head on his shoulders if he loses more points to Verstappen.

  12. After all those ridiculous strategy errors over the years, they STILL keep the guy they’ve had as a head of strategy since 2014!

    Usually, the Scuderia is quick to fire a guy who doesn’t deliver, but there he is, still…

    Maybe he has compromising photos of Mattia, who knows? ;)

    1. Ahah, that’s a good one!

  13. Very frustrating as well that exactly during the hot phase of the race the chart on the left-hand side of the screen did not have the intervals between the drivers for several minutes. It was basically impossible to figure out what exactly was going on and how the gaps were developping. I mean, what’s the point in watching a race if you have no idea how everyone is doing?

    F1 needs to up its TV game and the graphics also. MotoGP and IndyCar are WAY better at this!

  14. Unfortunately this seems to happen all too often at Ferrari.

    I was hoping that they might avoid it this year and enable a first class fight for the WDC, but I’m less confident now.

    1. @dbradock

      Looks like the start of another Alonso era to me. Great driver, shiite team.

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