The weekend in Monaco, which started brilliantly for Ferrari, turned into a sort of nightmare on Sunday afternoon. For a team fighting for both world titles, wasting the opportunity to take home a first and second place, due to a bad strategy, can never be an option.
The biggest mistake of the weekend was making two very close pit stops with Charles Leclerc, who found himself from leading the race to slipping into fourth position.
After the race, which ended with a second place for Sainz and a fourth place for Leclerc - so the curse of his home GP continues - Mattia Binotto spoke to the media, including Motorlat.com.
“I think we need to admit that if you are leading the race and you are finding yourself in fourth position, you’ve done something wrong,” Binotto said, admitting that they made a mistake with the strategy.
“We made mistakes in our judgement and we made mistakes in our calls. The first mistake was underestimating the pace of the Intermediates and the gap we had to the other cars in terms of track position.
“I think it’s something we still need to look at. We had our debrief, we had discussions, we tried to understand,” - the Italian team manager said - “But believe me, it was quite a complicated one. It was not an obvious one but certainly we made a mistake.
“We should have called him [Leclerc] earlier, at least a lap earlier. Or if not, we should’ve stayed out and simply stayed on the Extreme Wet, protecting the position and then maybe switching directly to dry [tyres].”
“I think we could’ve won the race,” - he added - “There were situations that were not in our favour but I think we made some wrong judgements.”
He then explained the choice to mount directly the slick tires, without passing through the intermediates, on Carlos Sainz's car:
“It was a scenario we discussed between us before the race, it already happened in the past – I think it was Hamilton here in Monaco. I see the reason why we made some mistakes it’s not coming from that.”
He continued, explaining the reason why they decided to call Leclerc back to the pits to mount hard tyres on his car as well:
“We knew that the dry tyres were significantly faster and we believed that would’ve been the right opportunity for us to undercut the Red Bull, so it was the opposite situation of them going on intermediates to try and undercut us. We basically did the same but with the hard tyres.”
The Ferrari team principal then explained why after the red flag they continued on whites, deciding not to mount the medium compound:
“We decided to stay on the hard tyres because we thought that was the right thing to do, because the medium tyres would’ve suffered from graining, while the white ones were a lot more resilient. We know that in Monaco it’s really hard to overtake anyway, but we thought that they were the right choice.”
Carlos Sainz also commented on his strategy:
“It was worth – not taking a gamble, because it was not a gamble, it’s Monaco and it’s still difficult to pass – but to make sure that we waited until the slick to pit and we save a pit stop. I was trying to transmit to the team that was my feeling, that this was my intention or at least what I thought was the right call.”
Leclerc on the other hand certainly seemed more disappointed, because he clearly had the victory in his hand. “I was not aware that we were pitting for intermediates,” – the Monegasque said - “We didn’t have the time to speak about it.
“Obviously I got the call and I listened to it. So we didn’t have the time to discuss because it was at a particular moment and I think the aim was to react to Perez.
“But we’ll analyse all of this. Obviously it’s disappointing and it hurts especially at home, but it’s the way it is.”