Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2022

Leclerc: We shouldn’t have reacted to Verstappen putting us under pressure

2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari shouldn’t have reacted to Max Verstappen’s second pit stop, which he believes was timed to put them under pressure.

Ferrari brought their driver in from the lead on lap 39 of the race and put him on hard tyres. He rejoined the track in front of Verstappen, who was on the medium compound and had little difficulty attacking and passing Leclerc to win.

Leclerc said he made it clear to the team he wanted to continue his second stint on the medium tyres for longer.

“I said that I wanted medium as long as possible,” he told media including RaceFans after the race. “We need to understand why we want on the hard because I made it clear that medium, I wanted to keep it as long as possible but we pitted very early for the hard.”

The Ferrari was competitive in the race, said Leclerc, but his afternoon was compromised by the early switch onto hard tyres. “The pace was very good today on the medium,” he said. “On a tyre that was strong, it was really good.

“But then on the hard obviously we lost all the pace. We did one stop more than everybody, losing 20 seconds, plus the five or six laps on the hard we were losing a second per lap, so this is a lot of race time.”

He was eventually forced to abandon his run on the hard and make an extra pit stop, switching to softs. He encountered some graining on that tyre, but said it was still better than the hard.

“On the medium it was very good, honestly, the feeling was very good. The tyres were always good, basically.

“On the soft, yes [there was graining], but we had to pit quite early because the hard was just incredibly difficult so the soft was the only tyre left. We grained at the end but nothing that surprised me. The soft we were expecting to grain.”

Leclerc is convinced the timing of his second pit stop was where his race went wrong. He believes Ferrari called him in early to cover Verstappen, who had just pitted behind him.

“I think the second stint should have been longer. The first stint was the right moment to stop and we did the right choice there. But on the second stint there I don’t know exactly why we cut it short and went on the hard.”

“I’m pretty sure that this was [Verstappen’s] call to put us under pressure but I don’t think we should have maybe reacted to that because then it was a snowball effect for us and we lost a lot more than what we should have.”

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2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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25 comments on “Leclerc: We shouldn’t have reacted to Verstappen putting us under pressure”

  1. Sam (@undercut677)
    31st July 2022, 16:58

    Red Bull and Merc fight over human capital to lead and manage their teams. Ferrari just promotes people within their organization. They will never win again if they keep being so insular and they will never win with Binotto. All Italian horsepower held back by all Italian brainpower.

    1. @undercut677 You mean spanish, Inaki Rueda, the strategists and race engineers are spanish.

  2. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    31st July 2022, 16:59

    Hamilton has now been on the podium more times than Leclerc. That’s how badly it’s going for Ferrari.

  3. i was not witness to ferrari before MS/RB/JT had fixed it. now i can see what the team looked like before those people arrived.!

    1. Ahah, it was even worse in 1994, 1995 and the likes, at least now the car is competitive, back then not even that.

  4. Now Charles, do you want Mattia to scold you again? You are there for increasing the potential and learning, not for winning, for crying out loud.

  5. I have never seen Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton in the Pirelli era willingly pitting while they still have pace in the tyres, unless on a number of occasions they were on an even more aggressive attacking strategy like Spain 2013, Hungary 2019, Spain 2021… Verstappen is going down that route too, in normal circumstances he only pits after extracting everything from a tyre set.

    Ferrari all these years have been pitting their drivers nullifying their tyre advantage despite putting sometimes fastest laps with no sign of tyre wear. Last year in Hungary they called Carlos who refused to pit despite the fact that he had decent pace. Unbelievable !

    1. As a driver, you can’t see the complete picture: Speed differences, Tire state and gaps to direct competitors might be doable, but for gaps for clean air after a stop, undercut or overcut deltas and weather predictions, you need to trust your team. The issue is that Ferrari are way to defensive. It went wrong first at their first stops by giving away the tire advantage they had over the “soft starters”. The second ball they dropped was once again a few very slow stops.
      Their third mess was chosing the hard tire, a tire no-one else could use without losing much laptime… Why gamble on that tire when you know the sweet spot is somewhere between the soft and the medium

      1. And once again Red Bull proves they are the best team & strategists! It’s been like that for decades.

  6. In the post race interview Leclerc looked very calm and collected, a bit dissapointed, but not at all surprised or angry.
    I think that says a lot.

  7. i’m starting to think Leclerc is a bit too passive when it comes to Ferrari’s obviously bad calls.

    They asked something completely dumb from Sainz in Silverstone and he said “i’m not doing that” and won the race.

    Charles is being screwed every other race and you don’t hear him even doubting anything as if they never made terrible calls before.

  8. Sam (@undercut677)
    31st July 2022, 17:30

    The worst part of all this is that this is extremely easy to fix. Just put the strategy in the hands of a more capable people. Unlike building and developing a car, strategy requires no steep learning curve when moving to a new team. Just gather data, interpret it and implement it during the race. Ferrari could fix this before Spa by hiring someone outside their organization. But of course, they wont.

    1. Good point, they really need to get some proper strategist, like ross brawn back then.

    2. I watched this race at my grandmothers’, who’s over 80 years old and doesn’t have a good sight any more, but even she noticed ferraris were going backwards compared to early race!

  9. Well…If there were any doubts about their amateurism against two professional and methodics teams, i recon after this there aren’t anymore. I can’t really conceive what really happened there, for Spa Ferrari strategy “team” should go with clowns customs and a really big round red nose.
    No one can compete with such incompetence, and if i thought on the beginning of the year, Ferrari would want the constructors title, and would do absolutelly everything for it (even if that meant jeopardize the driver championship) now, i thing not even second they will get and they’ll be ending this season like the end it the last one, battling for a 3rd place as a constructor…

  10. No one understood Ferrari’s strategies.

    1. True. But I guess the fact that SAI started in front of LEC and managed to maintain his position after lap1, but also the fact that he lacks the pace and fighting spirit to attack RUS from the start, compromised at least a little bit LEC’s race by being stuck behind RUS and SAI…. and it’s exactly what I was afraid of. Also predicted that Ferrari won’t intervene and SAI won’t let LEC in front without orders… possibly even with orders.

      1. Honestly, while I don’t like ferrari’s strategies, there’s no need for team orders in the circumstances, no matter what they say they’re not fighting for the title since a few good races, so let them race unless one is clearly compromising the other.

      2. @mg1982 Leclerc was going to pass Sainz jnr regardless and somehow he did on the overcut, which was not supposed to work but that shows just how much quicker he was than Sainz jnr then Leclerc passed Russel and was on 5 lap fresher tyres, at that stage Leclerc was set for an easy win…

  11. There is new phrase ” Don’t be a Ferrari” 😀

    1. I’ve hear a similar thing: “We had a good first semester. Lets not Ferrari this up and throw it away.”

      1. Ahah, that’s a fun one indeed!

    2. Houston we`ve had a Ferrari…

  12. Maybe Ferrari should hire Vettel as a strategist for next year. He allready did that job for them.

  13. Charles should just do whatever he likes and mute the pit wall. Ask for gaps to cars and give them half a lap warning when he wants to pit. It could save his championship!

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