Charles Leclerc and Frederic Vasseur relay the F1 Singapore GP strategy where the win was their prime target which aided Carlos Sainz to win.

From the get go, it seemed like Ferrari were banking on Sainz to lead and get a better chance to win the F1 Singapore GP. They put him on the medium tyre with Leclerc on the soft to clear Mercedes’ George Russell off the line which he did.

But after clearing him, Ferrari instructed him to create enough gap between him and Sainz for the Spaniard to control the race. The strategy worked for a good extent until the safety car was called upon to clear debris shed by Williams’ Logan Sargeant.

It was an early stop and Ferrari were left with a double stack situation. While Sainz managed to retain the lead, Leclerc lost out to McLaren’s Lando Norris and Russell in the process as he was held up in the pits due to incoming traffic.

In order to regain the places, Leclerc had a slightly wide moment where he lost further to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. While he managed to get by the Mexican eventually, but he couldn’t hold back the Mercedes pair after their late stop.

His tyres were done by the end when even Red Bull’s Max Verstappen caught him. But the Dutchman did not have enough laps to pass which meant Leclerc ended up fourth after looking set for a possible Ferrari 1-2 finish if not for the safety car.

Starting on the soft compound was a team call and one Leclerc agreed to clear Russell off the line and prioritise a victory for Ferrari rather than push for individual glory. Team boss Vasseur concurs while noting why they didn’t elect to pit again for the Monegasque.

Hard tyres at end, the race –

Leclerc: “It was hard on the hard, but to be honest I think we did a really good race management overall. The soft, that’s exactly why we wanted to do to take the position to George, try and create the gap for Carlos to be able to stop one lap later without losing the lead. That’s exactly what we did. Unfortunately, with the safety car that put me on the backfoot a little bit because I had to lose four or five positions because of that. Then on the hard I was trying to do the best and then as soon as George and Lewis passed me, it was all about bringing the car to the end. The car was overheating everywhere so the pace was not really representative there but it was all about bringing the car to the end. Before that, the pace was good and it has been a good race management from the team.”

Sacrifice or strategy –

Leclerc: “Honestly, this wasn’t the plan. Since this morning things have been very clear and that’s also why I went on the soft. I pushed to start on the softs just to make sure that I was making the position straight away on George. I changed my mind very last minute just to make sure that I was in front of George in the first stint because then it was really clear that it was beneficial for Carlos because obviously he was making the gap but also for me because then that meant I could stop before Carlos and try and keep that second place. Unfortunately, I haven’t been very lucky with the safety car, that meant I had to wait inside the pits for traffic and there I lost basically the race. All in all, the win was the priority today and we did a really race management with the team.”

Second stop chance –

Leclerc: “Yes I did. But honestly even with hindsight I don’t think it would have changed much because the two Mercedes pitted and at the end on the radio they told me to do the do opposite of Lewis in front. Lewis went for the pits so I had to stay out. Honestly, if I had come in or stayed it would have been very similar. I don’t think it would have been a gamechanger.”

Pace against Sainz –

Leclerc: “Carlos in Monza and here has been completely on it. He’s been very strong. It’s great to have him on such a form because it pushes me also to understand a bit more my driving style and try to fit my driving style to this car. As I said, I’m not completely comfortable with the car at the moment, a bit too much understeer for my liking and I struggle to drive around it. And because of the unpredictability of the car, I cannot have the oversteer that I want. There is a bit of work to do, but it’s first of all great to see that at least the competitiveness seems to be up there, that Carlos …. And now it’s up to me to try and catch up.”

Teamwork to beat rivals –

Vasseur: “I was not focused on Red Bull and we have to do the best no matter where Red Bull is. But honestly it went well from Turn 1 lap one, the plan was to put Charles P2, that we had the two cars on the right-hand side of the starting grid and an advantage, we decided with Charles to put Charles in soft also to be P2 and it went very well for us, until the safety car or the VSC when we have to pit and he was locked a little bit into the traffic into the pitlane and we lost the position, but so far it goes very well. In terms of management, Carlos did a fantastic job from the lap one to be on the control side, it was a very good job.”

Pre-race discussions –

Vasseur: “The plan was to overtake Russell, not to overtake Carlos. We knew that track position is crucial in Singapore and the best way to protect Carlos was to have Charles behind him. It’s why also we asked at one stage to Charles to slow down a little bit to protect from an undercut from Russell and it was as per plan from lap one.”

Traffic in pit stop –

Vasseur: “Charles lost two or three positions with the VSC with the traffic with Lewis first, then at the restart, he lost almost the car and he lost another one or two positions in Turn 3, and he was P7 or something like this. But then he had a good recovery, but perhaps he pushed a little bit too much and he lost the tyres the last couple of laps. But I think it’s not due to the track position.”

Pit under VSC for Leclerc –

Vasseur: “No because track position are very important in Singapore and for us – I can understand the strategy from Mercedes also because they were behind, it was the right game to do it and they had the new set of medium, nobody had that second set of medium, I think they did it on purpose expecting a second safety car or safety car 20 laps before the end of the race. But the fact we had Charles, Norris in between was also a good protection and Carlos didn’t push too much on this set at the beginning.”

Slowing Norris’ call –

Vasseur: “It was the idea of Carlos, I don’t want to say it’s of use, but he knew he was more at risk with Mercedes than with Norris. With Norris we had the same tyres, almost the same pace from the lap one and we were not really at risk with Norris except if we lost the tyres and it was a clever move from Carlos to keep Norris into the DRS.”

Here’s Carlos Sainz on winning against McLaren, Mercedes