Carlos Sainz was fine with the strategy from Ferrari despite the back and forth in F1 French GP, as Mattia Binotto adds his side of the story.
It was a solid fightback from Ferrari’s Sainz in F1 French GP where he had to come through the field in the Top 10. While his teammate Charles Leclerc controlled the grand prix, the Spaniard started making step by step progress from the back.
But with Leclerc’s crash, it caused a bit of chaos at Ferrari. As they came into terms with the incident, there was an unsafe release on the side of Sainz which earned him a 5s penalty. As he switched to medium tyres from hard, the strategy was wide open.
The discussions on the radio was on about if he needed another stop. While there was difference of opinions, Sainz eventually pitted for another set which set him behind in the podium fight where he had moved up to third after fight against Sergio Perez.
Post-race, Sainz was fine with the strategy and even though he thought podium was possible in the end, he wasn’t too fussed eventually. “Not the win, but the podium position, I think with a perfect race we could have made it; the win I think, Max was pretty fast and perfect out there, so starting last it’s not like you can beat Max,” he said.
“But yes, it felt like a good recovery, fast pace. I think without the penalty, if we would have started on pole or on the first row like we could have done yesterday, the win would have been definitely possible. I think the team is doing a very good job on strategy this year; I still believe at Ferrari we get super-criticised for things that other teams might be going through also in the pit stop windows, and every time there’s a tricky moment on strategy, we are discussing things.
“But we are not a disaster like people seem to say we are. We like to discuss things, we are open about them. I was in the middle of an overtake but I didn’t believe that was the right lap to stop and come back through the field. I believe that maybe at the time it was better to risk it and stay out and see what happens to the tyres.
“But I had just made it to P3 and I saw a podium position that I said, if I make these tyres last, maybe I can finish on the podium But we will never know, it was a feeling; the team has a lot more data on the computer, they have a lot more numbers to go through and if they took that decision, I’m 100% convinced that they took it with the best of intentions and with the best of spirits.
“It’s just, we need to keep progressing and we need to analyse everything and see if we can do better, but I’m convinced the team is doing a good job there. We started 19th and how the pit stop went and how everything turned out, to be finishing P5 and the point for fastest lap, it’s okay. I’m going to take it, but I believe with a perfect race we could have been further up,” summed up Sainz.
From the team end, Binotto explained that the decision was the right one as he felt the tyres wouldn’t have lasted those laps for him to retain third against Perez and George Russell. There was also the risk of the tyres eventually losing out.
“As far as the choice we made, it was the proper and the right one,” said Binotto. “Carlos in the cockpit does not have all the information. For him, it was difficult to judge. But no doubt, we made the right choice. So at first, we’re trying to extend his stint as much as possible to have the best fit on the tyre’s life, to make sure at least we’re not overshooting any decisions in terms of tyres life.
“But as soon as we got all the information, which were required, we realized that there was not sufficient tyre life to go to the end of the race. As simple as that. To stay out would have been a risk in terms of safety and reliability in terms of tyres life. So, we had to stop. Additionally, the pace of Carlos would not have been sufficient to open the gap more than five seconds to Perez and Russell and to cover the five seconds penalty. So, it was right to stop. By doing that we had the fastest lap of the race, which gave Ferrari an additional point: an important point for the team and for Carlos,” summed up Binotto.
Here’s Max Verstappen on pace encouragement against Charles Leclerc
Here’s Charles Leclerc and Mattia Binotto on the mistake