Scuderia Ferrari misses another shot. This time it's a “messy” pitstop to undermine Carlos Sainz's race.
The Spanish driver had been running third in the early stages of the Dutch GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton. In order to combat the Mercedes strong pace on the medium tyres, Ferrari decided to react by calling Sainz to the pits to try and maintain track position.
However, the call was made late: Sainz was in the final corner before the pit lane and Ferrari's pit crew in the hurry of the moment failed to prepare a left rear tyre in time.
The excessive length of the pit stop therefore caused the Ferrari driver to lose his track position as he rejoined the race in lower reaches of the top 10.
Asked about Sainz's pitstop, which Binotto labelled as a "mess" at the time, the Ferrari boss said: "On the first one [stop] what we did was we knew that Lewis [Hamilton] was preparing himself for a pit stop that could have undercut of ourselves.
"We tried to react simply to stay ahead of him which was the best way to keep track position, because we knew Lewis was very fast in the first stint of the race.
"When we saw the pit crew of Mercedes in pitlane we called our driver to pit but that was when he was in the last corner and it was too late for the mechanics to be ready. It was too late as a call based on our judgement."
Sainz finished the race in fifth but was then demoted to eighth after being hit with a five-second penalty for an unsafe release during his second pitstop.
About the penalty Binotto believes the decision was "very harsh" as Sainz only tried to avoid the oncoming Alpine of Fernando Alonso because of the positioning of McLaren's pit crew, who were attending Lando Norris pit stop in the box ahead.
"On the second one with the unsafe release and the penalties which cost quite a lot to Carlos, I feel the decision of the FIA and the stewards is very harsh," he added.
"The reason is when he came in, McLaren was passing through and we handled Carlos in the pit, in the pit position, because we knew it would have been unsafe to release him at the time.
"We waited and waited until we had the right space with the Alpine coming and that is why we released him.
"After that he had to slow down and almost had to stop because the pit crew of McLaren was going around the [Norris] car, and in order to be safe with the mechanics he almost stopped with anti-stall cutting in.
"The release itself was not unsafe, it was safe. The way that Carlos acted was safe, so that is why I think the overall decision was harsh."