Charles Leclerc reckons the strategy Ferrari adopted in F1 Italian GP was the correct one to cover Max Verstappen who looked quick all-through.
Leclerc says the strategy that Ferrari adopted for him in F1 Italian GP was the correct one to cover Red Bull’s Verstappen at Monza. The Monegasque stopped under the Virtual Safety Car which was an early one, where he was forced to do two stops then.
In fact, the VSC period didn’t help Leclerc as it ended rather early. “Honestly, I think the first choice was to stop under the Virtual Safety Car,” he said. “I think we all had the doubt. I think if I wouldn’t have done it, Max would have done it. It was a bit unfortunate, because in the middle of the pit lane, we had the Virtual Safety Car ending, so we didn’t get all the benefits of stopping at that moment.
“And from that moment onward, we were a little bit on the back foot – but yeah, it’s like this.” With the strategy there is always a fear from Ferrari side of mistakes as seen in 2022, but this time Leclerc reckoned there was nothing else they could have done.
“I think if you look at our season as a whole, for sure there’s been mistakes and we need to get better,” said Leclerc. “If today was a clear mistake, I don’t think so because it was just our choice and looking back at it, you just cannot predict whenever the VSC is going to end.
“If I was not stopping Max will have pitted and he will have had the same problem as I did. So nothing to blame on anybody there. Just a little bit unlucky, and probably missing a little bit of pace too,” summed up Leclerc, who clarified that the engine misfiring early in the grand prix wasn’t much of a problem on the whole.
“I had a bit of a strange behaviour out of Turn 5 on the bump there and so we were just trying to figure it out and try to not get this small problem. It wasn’t costing a lot of time but it wasn’t so great to drive,” said Leclerc.
Amid this discussions, Leclerc and Mercedes’ George Russell had one about the Turn 1 incident where the Brit felt the Monegasque didn’t give him enough space..
You were side by side going into Turn 1. It got pretty tight…
Russell: Yeah! Got pretty tight! What was that quote, was it Montoya said in Imola, 2004? “If you couldn’t see me there on the outside…”
Leclerc: I don’t know – but in the last race it was pretty tight with you too!
Russell: Yeah, it was all good.
Verstappen: You didn’t see him, right?
Leclerc: I didn’t see him, with these new cars it’s difficult!
Verstappen: Of course!
Russell: Charles had the inside line, and he had the right to push me a bit wide. So, that was the most exciting part of my race, to be honest.
Here’s how F1 Italian GP panned out