Mattia Binotto clarified what went into the decision making of not swapping Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in F1 Brazil GP.
Having decided about a possible switch if needed pre-race, things changed at the end stages of F1 Brazil GP when the pleas from Leclerc were turned down for him to pass Sainz and take third in a bid to finish second in the drivers’ standings.
At the moment Leclerc is tied on points with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez but is ahead by virtue of wins. Even though Binotto was not in Brazil for the grand prix, the Italian spoke with the media via an online call after the race to explain things.
Binotto noted that since Sainz was under investigation for a moment during the safety car and since Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso were not far behind Leclerc, it was a tricky situation where Ferrari may have lost more places to gain some points.
“First, swapping the two cars on the last lap was certainly tricky because Charles had Fernando and Max just behind,” said Binotto. We knew that we were under investigation for what happened behind the Safety Car with Tsunoda.
“We were cleared by race control at the time, so we were quite comfortable, but without having a conclusion on the matter, it would have been risky. Because a five-second penalty, for example, would then mean that Carlos would have lost more than one position, so for the Constructors’ Championship, it was certainly better to stick with the positions and the gaps on track,” summed up Binotto.
Leclerc, meanwhile, pleaded about the same because it was discussed pre-race. The team didn’t tell him the reasoning for the switch at that time of happening which is why he kept on persuading them despite them saying no initially.
“I understand, I mean I kind of understand that obviously Carlos is on the podium but I normally don’t ever ask these type of things,” said Leclerc. “I did because we had a discussion before the race, mentioning this case and for some reason then we changed our mind in the heat of the moment, that was very frustrating but it’s like this.
“Regarding the position, again it’s always nicer and obviously we are trying to do everything to be second in the team, but I would like also us to look at second place in the drivers’ championship too,” summed up Leclerc.
While all this was happening, Sainz was unaware that Leclerc was pleading about a switch on the radio. “I got to know this at the end of the race, because to me on the radio, nothing came from my engineer or the team,” he said. “So I just got to know this half an hour ago when I jumped out of the car. So I have nothing to comment.”
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