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Ferrari insist Leclerc tyre gamble was “safe”

Ferrari insist Leclerc tyre gamble was “safe”

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Ian Parkes & Will Gray

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has insisted it was safe to keep Charles Leclerc on balding intermediate tyres to the end of the race despite eventually stopping at the Turkish Grand Prix.

Leclerc ran third from the start and took the lead when Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas stopped on laps 36 and 37.

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The Monegasque asked if he was able to run to the end without stopping but after being overtaken easily by Bottas, he made a late stop to replace his worn tyres.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was the only driver to complete the race on one set of tyres, but his lap times slowed dramatically late in the race, proving that stopping was the best option to take.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes the team made the correct call to stay out, claiming the data it had available – including analysis of the tyres from Carlos Sainz’s car – all pointed towards that being the better strategy.

“We had the pit stop done on Carlos and we knew how much rubber was left on his tyres at that moment and knowing that data we believed that we could have finished the race, in terms of being safe,” explained Binotto.

“So we knew that in terms of safety all the conditions were there. Then it was a matter of performance, and as Charles said, at the time when we stayed out the performance was still ok but then the track changed so we had to come in.”

Leclerc “struggled” on worn inters

In the aftermath of the race, Leclerc was adamant he had “no regrets” over his daring strategy despite missing out on the podium.

Upon reflection, Leclerc believes he would have struggled to make it to the end had the team not brought him in.

“It would have been very difficult without stopping. The rear tyres were very difficult to handle in the last four laps before my pit stop,” said Leclerc.

“That’s why we did the pit stop. I struggled a lot with rear locking and that pushed me to do a few mistakes, so I don’t know [where I would have finished without a stop] but I don’t think better than where we finished with the pit stop.”

A. F1

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October 13, 2021 at 11:41AM

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