Three months of scarcity without winning a Grand Prix, a first victory in 150 races for its Spanish driver Carlos Sainz, but above all a beautiful internal psychodrama.
Ferrari spent a very paradoxical weekend on Sunday July 3 at Silverstone (Great Britain), but the Italian team can only blame itself, and especially the management of its headliner Charles Leclerc , only fourth in a race he was still dominating ten laps from the end and when he had everything to win it.
Summary of the imbroglio: victim of a fuel pump problem, Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine) was forced to retire on the 39th lap.
The safety car returns to the track and, in the process, most of the competitors rush to the pits to put on new soft tyres.
Leclerc remains on the track, when his closest pursuers, Sainz, Sergio Perez (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) equip themselves with these faster rubbers.
“We had to make a choice”
“We thought that there would not be the margin to stop the two so we had to make a choice, justifies Mattia Binotto, boss of the Scuderia, at the microphone of Canal +.
We left Charles out because he was in the lead, he had the freshest tires of the two and in addition Carlos, behind, could try to protect him in the first two corners.
When the safety car pulled away at the end of lap 42 (out of 52), Leclerc was no more than a suspended leader.
His Spanish partner quickly jumped at the chance to overtake him, then the Monegasque tried, with great brilliance and all his pilot tricks, to resist the onslaught of Perez and Hamilton, boosted at home.
The Monegasque eventually cracked and found himself ejected from the podium on the 48th lap.
He will even have to fight until the end of the British Grand Prix to preserve this fourth place against the attempts to overtake Fernando Alonso (Alpine), who is also faster.
You won't see anything more beautiful today: the epic battle between Leclerc, Perez, Hamilton then Alonso seen from the helicopter with comments from @Julien_FEBREAU 😍🚁#BritishGP |
▶️ https://t.co/t7uFs3yVeh pic.twitter.com/lhVkfZ4asW
– CANAL+ F1® (@CanalplusF1) July 4, 2022
“It's tricky… I don't know who made this decision, but it obviously cost him the victory,” said 2009 world champion Jenson Button, consultant to the Sky Sports channel.
“But why are you sacrificing Leclerc?
“, indignant the editorialist of the Gazzetta dello Sport, Gianluca Gasparini, reassembled against “a questionable decision”.
“As in Monaco, Charles was a victim of circumstances and pit wall decisions.
In the Principality, where Charles Leclerc is still chasing the dream of winning his Grand Prix on the streets of his childhood, Ferrari was too late to change the tires of its driver in a contested race on a wet track.
Starting from pole position, he also finished fourth.
“I don't have the words, not the words, had dropped the 24-year-old prodigy on his radio after the Grand Prix.
AIE Aie Aie.
The season is long, but we can't do that.
“I was asked to stay on track”
Still a victim of the strategy of the Italian team, Charles Leclerc thus comes out of his British weekend with "only" twelve points, taking only six points from the leader of the World Championship Max Verstappen, seventh Sunday and who is ahead of him by 43 points.
Aware of his driver's discomfort and annoyance, Mattia Binotto went to see him as soon as he got out of his single-seater.
The image of the boss of Ferrari, trying to explain the strategic choice to a tense Leclerc, has been widely commented on on social networks.
"I was asked to stay on track, so that's what I did", then came to explain the Monegasque, jaw closed, to the Canal + camera, before turning on his heels as soon as the interview finished.
The immediate disappointment then passed, and Leclerc and Binotto then exchanged, in a more relaxed manner according to L'Équipe, before the collective photo to immortalize Sainz's success.
Read alsoFormula 1: the halo, the safety device that "saved" Zhou's life at Silverstone
“Bravo Carlos for having realized a childhood dream, you deserve it my friend, wrote, this Sunday in the evening, the unfortunate of the day.
For my part, I am incredibly disappointed.
The car was damaged on the first lap
(after a collision with Perez),
but we were flying.
Nice fights on the track, but I couldn't do much more with old tires at the end of the race.
Charles Leclerc will not have long to wait to revive, since the next Grand Prix, in Austria, is scheduled for Sunday July 10.
We will watch for the strategic choices of Ferrari, whose car dropped the Monegasque in Barcelona, then in Azerbaijan.
When it's not the men, it's the mechanics that let go of the contender for the world title.