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F1 | Hungarian GP | Binotto defends his team's strategy for Leclerc, says their simulations predicted the hard would be faster than the medium after 10 laps

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto stated that a lack of pace and poor tyre choices were why the team struggled in today’s Hungarian Grand Prix. The Swiss-born Italian defended the team’s decision to fit the hard compound of tyres for Charles Leclerc’s car when Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon had struggled for pace on the same compound.

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F1 | Hungarian GP | Binotto defends his team's strategy for Leclerc, says their simulations predicted the hard would be faster than the medium after 10 laps
Fuente imagen: @ScuderiaFerrari

Mattia Binotto has defended Ferrari’s decision to fit the hard tyres on Charles Leclerc’s car for the final stint of today’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Although he had done the hard work out on track, including passing George Russell for the lead, Leclerc had to make one more stop to get to the end of the race.

When Leclerc finally came in for tyres, he was put on the slower hard compound of tyres which had failed to work on the Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon. The Monegasque suffered the same results as he struggled to hold Lewis Hamilton at bay before being forced to yield the position. With no chance of victory or a podium, Leclerc was brought back in for a fresh set of softs crossing the line a lowly sixth behind Sergio Perez.

Shortly after the race, in a post-race media session which MotorLAT attended, Binotto blamed the car’s sudden drop in performance rather than the hard compound of tyres.

“Before we come to the question of why we decided to go for the hard tyres, I think it’s important to say that we believe the car was not working as expected, and we didn’t have the speed that we were hoping for, looking back at the Friday and the pace we had on the race simulations on Friday.”

“Today’s conditions were a lot different, a lot cooler, but overall the speed today was not great enough and whatever tyres we were using, I don’t think that we were as good as we were looking for and as good, (as) we were beforehand.”

Binotto then explained that the teams’ simulations had predicted that the hard tyres would come back to them in the last stint as they tried to cover race winner Max Verstappen. However, this prediction would be incorrect as Ferrari ended Leclerc’s stint on the hards with 15 laps to go.

“When we fitted the hards, our simulations was that it would have been a difficult couple of warm-up laps, they would have been slower than the mediums for 10-11 laps, but then they would have come back and finished faster on the last stint, and it was a 30-lap stint so we fitted the hard tyres at the time because it is a 30-lap stint we were trying to protect the position to Max it would have been too long certainly for the softs and our analysis said that yes it would have been difficult for that stint, but it would have come back by the end.”

“Overall, the tyres didn’t work. I know that they weren’t working on other cars, but as I said before, the main reason is to not look into the strategy but why the car was not as good as we were hoping today.”

Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz also struggled in the race’s latter stages as his older soft tyres began to degrade during the closing stages, with the Spaniard powerless as Lewis Hamilton blasted by down the front straight to move back into third.

Sainz’s rapid drop in pace was also blamed on the car’s lack of pace as the Spaniard was on the same strategy as Hamilton, who finished second and ten seconds ahead.

“It’s the case as well with Carlos; he was on the same strategy as Lewis; he was starting ahead but finishing behind, and Lewis finished ten seconds ahead, so the car today was not performing well, and if the car wasn’t performing then it doesn’t make the tyres work as they should.”

Before committing to the hards, the team had been monitoring the pace of the Alpine pair, and although there were some discussions as to whether they should use a different compound, the team stuck with their original decision, a call which Binotto admitted was the wrong one in hindsight.

“Yes, we discussed it, so it’s not that [the strategy] is all written in stone. During the race and looking at what’s going on, we have as well looked at what was happening with the other hard tyres. We took all considerations, we discussed what would have been best, and that’s the choice that we made. It certainly was not the right one today.”

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