Leclerc praises Ferrari for “step forward” with strategies after snatching second

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc says taking second place off Sergio Perez through the pits shows Ferrari have improved their strategies in recent races.

He ran third in the opening stages of the race but moved into second place as Perez made one more pit stop than he did. Leclerc was able to hold on to his advantage over Perez, claiming second place by 1.3 seconds.

“The plan was always to do a one-stop,” said Leclerc after the race. “But we managed to push them into doing two stops.”

Leclerc said the strategy hinged on not taking too much life out of his first set of tyres at the start of the race. He was relieved to see Lewis Hamilton drop back from fourth place behind him when the Mercedes driver was told to let Carlos Sainz Jnr past to avoid collecting a penalty.

“On the medium tyres obviously you do the first part of the race trying not to fight too much,” said Leclerc. “But obviously in the first few laps Lewis was quite close. After that I don’t know what happened, I think he had to give the position back to Carlos.

“Then at that point, I could manage my tyres a little bit better. It gave me a little bit of breathing space. And then from that moment onwards, then I think we did a great job.”

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He ran a long second stint to the end of the race on hard tyres, but was suffering from a lack of grip in the final laps as Perez closed on him.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Yas Marina, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in pictures
“It was really tricky,” he said. “Especially at the end of the stint on the hard, even though we did really, really good management, to be honest it’s tricky because when you get to the end of the race, the front-locking starts to become a problem, so it was very easy to do a mistake. But at the end, we kept everything under control and managed to keep Checo behind.”

Ferrari’s execution of the race was “really perfect,” said Leclerc. “I don’t think we have the pace of the Red Bulls still, and our goal from the beginning was to try and push Checo do something different, which we did perfectly. And again, with a great tyre management, we made the one-stop work, which eventually got us the second place.”

Ferrari have been criticised for their tactics in some races this year, notably in Hungary when Leclerc led the Hungarian Grand Prix until the team put him on a set of hard tyres which compromised his afternoon. He said the team has made gains since then.

“I think we really did some step forwards in terms of strategy and the way we have been taking decisions recently, in the last few races,” said Leclerc. “Unfortunately, it was a bit more difficult to show it because the pace is not as good as the beginning of the season. But I’m confident that in terms of pace, we will manage to catch Red Bull back next year.”

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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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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11 comments on “Leclerc praises Ferrari for “step forward” with strategies after snatching second”

  1. Charles is right, after a mostly disastrous season by the Fezza strategists they got it right this time. Also, they finish well ahead of Merc for the WDC. So the season ends in a positive note for them.

    Nothing against Checo here but I am glad that Charles was runner-up for the WDC when team tactics might have given it to Checo (yes I am aware that 2 points from a switch in Brazil would not have been enough). Charles was simply better than Checo along the season. Even if he made a few mistakes and seemed somehow less motivated near season’s end.

    1. Absolutely, I think pretty much everyone on this site except 1 person will admit red bull was, if not the dominant car, by far the best car this year, so for leclerc to beat perez is an achievement.

  2. Charles is wrong.
    The strategy was wrong if you have a car clearly faster than the adversary and only get 1 sec advantage in the end.
    They could have make 2 pitstops at right time, maybe even another yellow tire for last stint and comfortably ahead of Perez and threatening Vertappen. What we saw Perez almost doing to Leclerc we could have seen Leclerc doing to Verstappen.

    1. Clearly faster than the RBR? Overtaking Max with a 2-stop strategy? Seriously?

      1. Clearly faster than Perez.
        If Verstappen would not pit then it might have been a RBR mistake and Leclerc would have a shot. If Vertsappen would have followed Leclerc to the pits probably not.

  3. They got lucky.

    The bluff? was well sold, and bought by RB, but the strategy depended on Perez being an average driver and having trouble overtaking the cars …

    OK, it was a good strategy.

    1. Yes, I thought immediately that having several cars inbetween and with perez not being a super-overtaker leclerc might’ve been in with a chance; hamilton definitely helped ferrari with his defense.

  4. What really helped Ferrari make that strategy work was that their car surprisingly did not eat the tyres here. Sure, they failed to make any strategy errors, driving errors, pitstop errors or hit any technical issues this weekend too. And for this team that is a step forward. But the key was actually getting the tyres to work – so for them, I hope they know how that happened here and are able to repeat that regularly next year.

    1. @bascb Ferrari probably set the car up for the race instead of qualifying, which might explain why Red Bull scored a front-row lock-out this time. Usually Red Bull has a race-pace advantage over Ferrari, but that wasn’t really the case this time. With little to lose, Ferrari tricked Pérez into stopping again, which gave Leclerc an unexpected opportunity to beat him. It worked out well for Leclerc, so he understandably was very pleased with that.

      1. Yeah, that would make sense @f1infigures

  5. It took them 21 races… but they finally got one right. A bit of a fluke if you ask me, but heck, I think Charles will take it.

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