Charles Leclerc notes of power difference for Red Bull and McLaren in F1 Imola GP, as Carlos Sainz and Frederic Vasseur add on it.

What started out well for Ferrari in F1 Imola GP, ended up in a strange situation where they had to dig deep against McLaren rather than Red Bull. It was not like that they were far away, but they missed that little bit which kept them behind in the order.

They initially set the pace but McLaren caught up and even got ahead of them in qualifying. A penalty for Oscar Piastri helped Ferrari to gain a place, but the Australian was on it during the grand prix. Not only he got Sainz, but he hustled Leclerc as well.

His pace did push Ferrari to ponder on strategy especially on Sainz’s side. Leclerc, meanwhile, showed better pace and was on the tail of Lando Norris but slight mistake in the chicane caught him out and he dropped off at the time when the Brit picked up.

Once in the clear, both Max Verstappen and Norris were slightly ahead of Leclerc, leaving him to settle for third as Sainz was resigned to fifth long back. Post-race, both the Ferrari drivers noted about power usage by their team against Red Bull and McLaren.

While Leclerc spilled out different power usage in the first part at Turn 1-2, Sainz played around about finding something after qualifying which didn’t work for them. Vasseur downplayed the whole scene, terming it as a minor problem amid strategy explanation.

Podium, mistake cost it –

Leclerc: “I mean, it’s always very special to be on the podium here in Imola. However, obviously, I’m never satisfied with a P3. You always want to be on the top step of the podium. But considering everything, I think we have lost mostly what could have been yesterday in qualifying. And this we will analyse. But today in the race, as Lando said, I think we were all very, very close. And it was all about who was pushing when exactly in the race. And then the podium was very special, as it always is when we are in Italy. To be honest my pace was quite similar for the whole stint. It’s more Lando that then gained quite a bit of pace, and it was not possible for me to come back within DRS.

“Then I was in a very awkward gap to Lando where you don’t get the benefits of the DRS, but you are just losing in corners, which at the beginning of the stint with the Hard, with our pace advantage, I could get within DRS. But then as soon as I lost it, It was also at the same time Lando started to push a bit more. And the two things put together made me go back a little bit. But I also had to try something a little bit different. I knew that by managing the tyres and attacking Lando at the end it was not the right thing because the pace advantage was not enough. So I just tried at the beginning to put him under a bit more pressure. But yeah, it wasn’t enough.”

Updates, power situation –

Leclerc: “I think, first of all, it’s not the best track to judge upgrades, mostly because kerb riding is such a thing here that if you have a good car on kerbs, then that could hide a bit more what is the real order. The good thing is that everything we expected from those upgrades, we had it. In terms of data, it did exactly what it was supposed to do, which is always a good thing. And then looking back, re-analysing qualifying, I think we basically lost everything at the launch. For some reason, we had a slightly different power strategy compared to McLaren and Red Bull, and we lost everything on the run down to Turn 2. Max, on top of that, had the slipstream. But this is something we’ll have to look into, because especially on a track like this, track position is absolutely everything. And when you only have a tenth in between Red Bull, McLaren, and ourselves, we need to do everything perfect. And the third place today cost us maybe a better result in the race.”

Difficult race –

Sainz: “I think simply we were lacking quite a lot of pace. Not very happy because I’m pretty sure after quali yesterday we saw something in the car that might have not been working as expected. We also had some issues with the deployment, so it was a bit of a damage limitation race for me after what we saw yesterday. Honestly not happy because we’ve been all weekend lacking a bit and a bit behind, a couple of tenths too slow. Having said that, P5 and the race how it went is not like much happened.”

Power issue –

Sainz: “Yeah, something on the other side that we need to look into and also with the deployment, some issues during the whole race that were holding me back, especially in the first stint, so something to look at. I think it’s more a different thing but I cannot go into it. I don’t know because I might have not felt something I would need to back it back to back and it’s impossible to do so. So yeah, a struggling race that I didn’t enjoy at all with inconsistencies on the car side and yeah I was struggling a lot.”

Vasseur: “You have to don’t play a little bit this. It was true in qualifying, but for different reasons, mainly because he had a mega slipstream from the start-and-finish line to turn 1, for Max. But it’s true that he had a better speed until turn 1 on the quali lap, that we need to change our approach, to do differently, and so. Part of the delta was coming from the slipstream with Hulkenberg.

“Every single bit that you can have in this kind of weekend, when you are five or six in two tenths, but also every single issue you can have, is crucial. But I think everybody had issues. I think nobody after the quali lap said ‘I had the lap of my life, I had no issues and the balance was perfect’. It’s not good to have issues, but it’s good to understand what’s happened and when we have to work, and we will do it for next week.”

Leclerc lost out –

Vasseur: “He went a little bit straight into the chicane (laughs). He had a poor set of tyres after this! No, he lost a little bit the momentum, I think he lost one second or something like this. You are out of the DRS, and I think at this stage you overheated probably a little bit the tyres, when he was pushing behind Lando. I think it was the same for everybody: you were pushing and closing the gap three laps, then overheating, and then the other one was pushing. But we were all in the same shape.”

Strategy for Sainz –

Vasseur: “We thought about it, it was initially the plan. The issue is that Russell, Hamilton pitted, and it would have been difficult to keep them behind for a while. Then if you lose a position in this kind of track, it’s even difficult to overtake the Mercedes with the same tyres. It was quite easy to overtake Perez and Stroll and so when we had the advantage of the tyres because they were with the first set, but if you are behind someone, even if he’s four/five tenths slower, you can spend your life behind.”

Performance phases –

Vasseur: “I think it was the same for everybody. When you push a little bit more, everybody has a reserve of pace, and when you push more you overheat the tyres, and then you suffer a couple of laps, then you’re coming back, it was the same for everybody. It was quite impossible to overtake, at least for the top four/five. It means that you can try to put a little bit more pressure on the guy in front of you, but…”

Here’s how F1 Imola GP panned out

Here’s link to a F1 Discord channel, join in to interact