Leclerc strategy was “common sense” like Hamilton’s in Abu Dhabi – Binotto

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In the round-up: Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto justifies the team’s decision not to pit Charles Leclerc under the Safety Car at the end of the British Grand Prix.

In brief

“Nothing unusual” in Ferrari’s Leclerc strategy

Ferrari chose to pit second-placed Carlos Sainz Jnr but not race leader Leclerc when the Safety Car was deployed towards the end of the British Grand Prix. Leclerc fell from first to fourth, passed by Sainz and two other drivers who pitted for fresh tyres.

Binotto said “it was common sense to prioritise the lead car by protecting track positions” at that point in the race. “There’s nothing unusual in this strategy, we always prioritise the lead car and therefore Charles in this situation. He was on fresher tyres at that point, and if he had pitted, our opponents would have done the exact opposite and gained track position on almost new hard tyres.”

“Just think of Lewis Hamilton at last year’s season finale in Abu Dhabi when he stayed out on track,” he added. Mercedes chose not to pit Hamilton from the lead during a late Safety Car period, a decision which cost them when the race was unexpectedly restarted in a manner which did not conform with the regulations.

“At the same time we decided to put Carlos on the opposite strategy in order to cover all opportunities,” Binotto added. “If we wouldn’t have done that split strategy, we would have risked losing the race and handing the win to our opponents.”

Hamilton receives Hawthorn trophy

Lewis Hamilton receives the Hawthorn trophy, 2022
Hamilton is an 11-time winner of the Hawthorn trophy
Hamilton was formally presented with the Mike Hawthorn trophy during the British Grand Prix weekend. It is the 11th time he has won the award, named after the first British driver to win the world championship, extending his record. It is given to the highest-placed British or Commonwealth driver in the world championship at the end of each season, a position currently occupied by his team mate George Russell.

Protesters reminded Ricciardo of 2003 track invasion

Daniel Ricciardo said he was reminded of the track invasion at the 2003 British Grand Prix when he saw protesters on the circuit at Silverstone. Neil Horan, a former priest, ran onto the track during the race carrying a sign urging people to “read the bible”, shocking several drivers including Mark Webber.

Ricciardo said he saw the protesters out of “the corner of my eye” on the first lap of the race. “I think maybe they were wearing orange so I thought they were Max fans originally, or McLaren fans.”

“To be honest it made me think of that year with Webber and everything, got pretty close,” he said. “That was that was one of the thoughts I had. But otherwise I’m not sure what it was about.”

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Comment of the day

DaveW agrees with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner that Mercedes were too conservative with their strategy in the British Grand Prix:

I hate to admit it when Horner is just stirring the pot as usual, but he was right about Hamilton. Even Croft could see that running long and then gong for the sifts was the right play. The Ferraris were barely making up ground on him with their new tires. Playing for track position versus the offset was a losing proposition when the Mercedes lacks top speed.

Maybe that would be all moot due to the last Safety Car. But if he stayed in the lead at the time of the Safety Car and then pitted even to mediums from the lead he probably wins the race ahead of the squabbling Ferraris trying to fend off Pérez.
DaveW (@dmw)

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  • 35 years ago today Nigel Mansell won the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard for Williams. It put him fourth in the championship, six points behind leader Ayrton Senna, while Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet separated the pair

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50 comments on “Leclerc strategy was “common sense” like Hamilton’s in Abu Dhabi – Binotto”

  1. The famous Abu Dhabi race, where Hamilton did not pit, kept track position… and won the race. Just like Binotto knew he would!

    1. It made sense in Abu Dhabi as there was only 1 lap left…. But 14 laps was completly nuts as you know Charles was on hards who need to warm up against softs which can be used to attack right away…. So Ferrari was a total failure as it made no sense at all…

      1. Mercedes didn’t pit because they couldn’t, not because it was the best choice to stay out. They were counting on the SC to last long enough for the choice of staying out to pay off. It was going to pay off until Masi “said” not on my watch! There were somewhere around 8 laps to the end when the SC came out, if my memory serves me well. It took a long time to clear Latifi’s car, and that was something that Mercedes could only have hoped for. The SC really put them in a very difficult position. Very unfortunate. But they had a chance, had the rules been properly followed. Which they weren’t.

        1. It was a gamble but they should be warned as Masi had to make sure races didn’t end like Spa. So Masi did what he was told. Even on worn Tyres Lewis was very hard to beat with that super engine it was that Max attack on a spot Lewis didn’t expect otherwise i don’t think Max would pass Lewis on the further turns.

      2. @macleod

        Completely agree with your reasoning. There were only 4 laps left in Abu dhabi when the safety car came out. There was no indication that the race would even resume. Obviously, it made no sense to pit Lewis and lose position for a race that probably wouldn’t resume. It was not the same case as the British GP, where we knew there would be a minimum of 8 to 10 laps of racing… and there would be little to no chance of the race leader protecting his lead on worn out hards.

        The fact that Binotto is giving such rubbish reasoning for his choices shows that he either believes F1 fans are fools, and would blindly agree with him, or, Binotto is actually that unintelligent that he’s comparing these two situations as identical.

    2. What if Hamilton’s form hasn’t been in his level because of last year. He was propably asked again about that incident put if it isn’t a horrifying incident losing a championship in the final race will be next hardest thing to swallow. I bet he won’t forget that. How much does it affect Hamilton, only he knows.

    3. Wouldn’t have mattered if Masi had applied the rules correctly. As Binotto points out, the decision cost them when the race was unexpectedly restarted in a manner which did not conform with the regulations.

  2. You’re no good without a car, George. And the Halo worked wonders to protect Albon’s legs from hits to the nose of his car from both sides. Add your own stupid coloured hearts. Fecken politicians.

    1. Every driver knows if you leave your car on track your out… so George was probaly in shock to make that stupid decision it’s not he can help the marshalls were straight there and a non trained figure would be in the way.

      Albon has wounded his legs? Nobody said something over Albon then he was alright but seeing him in a hospital bed i was al wondering why? Bruised or open wounds?

      1. Bruising and battered from being knocked around by the second and third impacts he got most likely

        1. Thank you!

    2. Makes sense when you think he would be the only one immediately on the scene in a fire suit and a full face helmet. Just thinking of the Grosjean wreck, if he was unconscious who was going to pull him out? The doctors in their overalls?

  3. i can’t believe he said that lol.
    So basically he’s saying they copied a failed strategy?

    1. Worse Abi could work as it was only 1 lap but it would be very very hard but this was 100% failed strategy as not 1 car overtook him but 3 drivers passed him.

  4. Sam (@undercut677)
    5th July 2022, 1:00

    These are the ramblings of a complete idiot. Merc’s decision not to pit Lewis in Abu Dhabi had to do with their justified belief that the race would end under the safety car. With 10 laps to go, Merc would definitely have pitted Lewis. He is using an example of Lewis losing the race in one lap to justify leaving Leclerc out for almost 8 laps. Complete lunacy.

    I was hoping Binotto was trying to save face but it seems that the worst is true, he actually believes this nonsense. These comments confirm they have no chance of winning either champiobship this year. What a waste.

  5. I think Ferrari wanted the 1-2 badly. I think they expected Sainz to sit behind Leclerc and create a DRS train since Hamilton (surprisingly) was quite slow on the straights. But wasn’t he one of the fastest on the speed traps on qualifying?

    But Sainz, and good job to him for thinking to not obey the order because he knew he could not take the risk of allowing Hamilton and Perez to get close to himq. However, Ferrari lost themselves a 1-2 by not swapping the cars earlier in the race. They are quite lucky Russell was out because this race could have had 6 cars fighting for the win. Binotto should stop saying that they are not challenging for the championship because they are definitely more than capable of doing so.

    PS – 4 wide into the loop was crazy. Maybe if Leclerc did not have damage, he could have overtaken Sainz with less difficulty, and maybe Ferrari would have had an easy 1-2?

  6. Elkann fire Binotto quick. Hamilton’s strategy made no sense.

    1. Made no sense? Here we go again.

  7. Sounds like Binotto is in damage limitation mode.

    1. Sack him for other reasons. Mercedes Abu Dhabi strategy made perfect sense if you assumed Masi would follow the rules on unlapping cars and safety car procedure. The race would nit have restarted.

      1. He followed the rules* (read the report). The rules were ambiguous.

        * except for not letting al cars unlap; but that didn’t impact the restart timing.

        1. The rules weren’t ambiguous but restarting that debate is pointless.

          1. Read the report!

          2. * except for not letting al cars unlap; but that didn’t impact the restart timing.

            I like that little fine print. That wasn’t in the report though… and is what ultimately decided the championship.

  8. That is a good attempt at Horner-level pot stirring. And maybe throwing some shade back at Horner after he mocked Ferraris strategy. The idea that they intended to “split” their strategy is a retcon. They just froze up in the moment. The worse case scenario was that Hamilton split them with all three on softs.

    1. The worse case scenario was that Hamilton split them with all three on softs.

      Why would that be worse than what they created now? Ferrari should be able to fight a Mercedes on the same compound.

  9. I think everyone is being to harsh here with Ferrari. It was in some ways the best they could have done. If Leclerc would have pitted Hamilton would have stayed out. With the pace he was showing there was not guarantee that Leclerc could have repassed and a Ferrari victory would have been lost. I would like everyone who is being hyper negative to imagine what they would have done in that position to make the correct decision within 20 seconds.
    I it had worked out everyone would be saying what a great call that was.

  10. Yes, a somewhat similar situation to last season’s last race, but the opponents, i.e., Hamilton & Perez, wouldn’t necessarily have done the opposite if both Ferraris pitted, only might’ve rather than would’ve, so incorrect assumption by Binotto.
    Even if they would’ve done the opposite, they’d got past easily anyway, given used hards versus fresh softs.
    Hamilton struggled with overtaking Leclerc despite considerable tyre advantage+Leclerc’s marginal front wing damage.
    Therefore, Leclerc would’ve most certainly passed him & probably nearly immediately or once DRS becomes re-available at the latest had their tyre choices been the other way round.
    The same with Sainz on both Hamilton & Perez – the decision of staying out would’ve been wise in somewhere like Monaco, where track position is an absolute king.
    Silverstone isn’t among the least overtaking-friendly tracks, so such a move backfired.

    I wonder if that tarmac piece will get resurfaced for not only next season but all possible future Silverstone events.

    I’m unsure how staying out & pitting a lap later for mediums would’ve necessarily improved his winning chance.
    He wouldn’t have rejoined in P1 & had Sainz-Perez (possibly also Leclerc in this alternate reality scenario) against him on fresh softs, so a lose-lose situation anyway. He lacks the pace to win races on merit.
    Therefore, I disagree with Horner that Merc made a strategic error.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      5th July 2022, 9:17

      Perez had to stop as he still had to do a compound change. That gave him basically a free stop. If he doesn’t stop at the SC he wold of had to stop at some point during the last 10 laps.

    2. It’s just Horner rabbiting on trying to negative the other teams. Even when Sainz got pole he was talking about him as an ex- red bull junior rather than a Ferrari driver – any little thing to make RBR look good and everyone else bad.

  11. It wasn’t common sense. Their strategy team should have known that Hamilton had a free pitstop and would take it. The car behind Charles was also their own, so they could easily control that car as well. The gap to the car in #4 was too big for that to be a factor. So they knew Cars #2 and #3 would be pitting, pitting Charles ahead of those two should have been a no-brainer, as should have been the double stack. Yes, maybe Carlos would have lost out to Lewis, but Charles needed to win this race to capitalize on Verstappen’s problems and become a factor in the WDC fight again.

    Their strategy team failing to realize this, or perhaps getting overruled by Binotto, was an error and if you want to be in the championship fight, those kinds of errors need to be fixed.

    1. Binotto said last month that he doesn’t consider winning the title to be an objective in the 2022 season. He wants Ferrari to “be competitive”. Apparently he seems to think development is linear, whereas for all anyone knows, Ferrari might be the 4th best team next season.

      Ferrari has an opportunity to fight for the title this F1 season, but it seems like the only people who don’t care are Ferrari themselves.

    2. @sjaakfoo This is true but what Binotto says here is they were concerned Hamilton would stay out on nearly new hards and be a threat to their win. What they did took this option away from him.

      However, given the softs were holding up well and the warm-up issues all cars had on the hards, there is no doubt that new softs was the way to go, even in the likely event Sainz would have lost position to Hamilton due to double stacking. Ferrari’s would still be 1-3 and both on fresh softs to fight or maintain positions. Leclerc did well to even finish P4 and not lose out to Alonso and Norris on their fresh tyres.

  12. So he is a officially incompetent or dishonest.

    Ferrari could have even got a 1-2 with both cars on soft.

  13. I thought I saw footage of George back in his car after he went to check on Zhou, but I can’t find it at the moment.

    1. You did, he was, but he couldn’t get the ICE unit to restart so crossed to the pit to ask his garage.

      1. Aah, that clears it up – thanks! From the tweet and other media it seemed to me as if George implied that the marshalls already put his car on the flat bed after he returned from the tire barriers. Guess you can read it multiple ways.

  14. As long as Binotto is in denial about this, we can expect more Ferrari pitwall fumbles this season…

  15. I can understand Mercedes keeping Hamilton on the track in Abu Dhabi as there was ONE lap to the end of the race and in a normal situation the race would finish under the yellow flag. We all know what happened.
    To avoid the mess they made with a double pit stop in Monaco, Ferrari made a decision in Silverstone. It wasn´t the worst decision in the world, as they sealed a win but with the wrong driver, as they needed Leclerc to win to be make the most of Verstappen’s luck.
    Sidenote: Did Verstappen put Schumacher off the track in the last lap?

  16. Of all the ‘common sense’ calls used by Mercedes, Binotto decided to copy the one which caused Mercedes to lose their first WDC in 8 years? Not making much sense buddy.

  17. Binochhio..

  18. Bin8 and Allegri are way too much to be honest.

  19. I’m still scratching my head trying to work out how Perez avoided a penalty for cutting the chicane to force Leclerc wide in the run-up to Hamilton passing, as well as running Leclerc off track in the previous corner, and again running Lewis off the track later the next lap. His first lap contact with Leclerc too was a massive reactionary change under braking because Leclerc was going for the inside – that too was very 50/50. How were none of those worthy of 5 seconds?

    1. Carl, are you the same person who is posting this repeatedly on the BBC’s comment section? It is true that if you look carefully at the video then you can see Perez has all four wheels off the inside of the track, rather than slow down and slot in behind LeClerc. However, I am sure Red Bull fans would see it as LeClerc crowding Perez off the track. The race is over, Ferrari and Mercedes didn’t protest, (thankfully) so I think everyone must consider it a racing incident.

      I wish there was a more objective way of solving this problem so that it didn’t depend on the whims of stewards, and without just building race-ending walls around the edges. I especially get annoyed when the lead car cuts the chicane, retains position, and the ex-drivers justify it as “well he didn’t gain any advatage”.

      One way to enforce track limits might have been to put some sort of loose sticky material on the inner apex which has the same effect as getting dust stuck on the tyres, so that a car cutting the corner is going to have much less grip for the next few corners. Another option might be to have rubber spikes which are likely to knock bits of front wing off or possibly even create slow punctures. Maybe it just needs a really severe rumble strip beyond the kerbing so that anyone driving over it is putting the car floor at risk and will be loosing traction at the same time. Or with today’s electronics, you could put sensors in the corners and say that any car which goes over the top of a sensor for whatever reason will be unable to engage DRS or KERS for the next 60 seconds.

      1. No, that’s very odd – I can’t remember the last time I posted on the BBC. Certainly not this year!

        It just seemed unnecessary at the chicane, like he rolled of the brakes and dived across trying to scare Leclerc off the track – which he did, but it seemed like he should’ve been able to slot in behind, it’d have just compromised his exit, but that’s kind of his fault as he picked his braking point. As it cost Leclerc positions I was half expecting some action as it’s similar enough to other instances where stewards have put in 5 second penalties.

        I’m kinda glad they left it in a way as it was a great battle, but it was more that there were several instances where he walked a fine line that I was surprised there wasn’t any sort of action, even if it was a retrospective black and white flag or something.

  20. Binotto makes perfect sense. If they’d double-stacked then there might have been a risk of Sainz getting jumped by Hamilton even if the Mercedes pitted, and then Ferrari would only be 1-3 and not 1-2. To ensure a Ferrari win they did the best thing they could. Plus I think all the teams expected the softs to go off quicker than they did, so Ferrari didn’t expect Leclerc would be as disadvantaged as he perhaps was.

  21. There’s apparently a Dutch article going around saying that teams were shown the initial proposal of the 2023 season calendar & that Spa wasn’t one of the 24 races on it.

    Who needs popular classic wonderful natural terrain permanent circuits that have character & a soul when you can put some walls up & drive around flat featureless, soul-less car parks.

    As i’ve said before the ever expanding calendar has the quantity but is losing it’s quality & less of something when it provides higher quality will always be better than a higher quantity of something that is of lower quality.

  22. i somewhat agree with Binotto, a late SC always turn things upside down. But he could have learned from Abu Dhabi and knew that not pitting is creating a large setback for the lead driver. If the attacker is on the faster rubber the outcome is predictable. In this case there was even more room for passing in the 12 remaining laps. Leclerc never could withstand such a pressure. He did great but was doomed.
    Excatly what happened in AD. It was a fair fight on track but the lead car was serious handicapped by the wrong tire.

  23. I hope this is PR talk of Binotto. Otherwise I would advise Leclerc to get out at the earliest convenience. Not only did they again fail with their strategy but based on the remark (if not a PR driven remark) they are also not capable of learning forward. This team has been a laughing stock for way too long. You can literally wait for them to shoot themselves in the foot every race. It was very clear they should have double stacked them. And it is absolutely not comparable to Abu Dhabi as there were lots of more laps to complete at Silverstone. He comes across as a person who hasn’t got the slightest racing DNA

  24. The Jean Todd tweet is priceless by the way. Why on earth would you still want to prove yourself right? He comes across like a toddler. Not saying he isn’t right by the way, but it is more elegant to let others say this about your past achievement, of which I am sure he can’t claim it 100% his own by the way.

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