Charles Leclerc for the third time this season fell victim to a strategic mistake by Scuderia Ferrari, which cost him victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Monegasque driver had made his way to the front after starting third and looked likely to claim a much-needed win before the summer break.
However, any chance of victory quickly disintegrated, with Ferrari deciding to fit Leclerc with the impossible to warm-up Hard compound.
Pirelli had advised teams not to use the Hard rubber during the race, with low track temperatures making it very difficult to generate any heat.
As a result, Leclerc slid all over the circuit and was forced into an extra-stop more than his opponents.
This saw the Ferrari driver quickly fall from first, to sixth, where he ended up finishing.
Following the race, Leclerc questioned the team’s strategy once again, as he has done at a number of rounds as of late.
Interestingly, Leclerc and team principal Mattia Binotto had different opinions on what went wrong.
Binotto failed to admit that the team made another strategic error.
“The performance of our car was not as we expected,” he said.
Binotto blamed the cool track temperatures as to why Leclerc finished sixth; he went on to say that the F1-75 failed to perform on all the available compounds.
Leclerc had a completely different opinion to his team principal, after finding that the Medium tyre was “pretty good”.
“I don’t think so because the pace was very good on the medium tyre [used in the first and second stint], said Leclerc.
“That was strong, it was really good.
“But then on the hard, obviously, we lost all the pace. We did one stop more than everybody, losing 20 seconds, plus the five or six laps on the hard [it was 15] where we lost a second per lap. This is a lot of race time.
“The second stint should have been longer. The first was the right moment to stop and we made the right choice there, but in the second stint, I don’t know why we cut it short and went on the hard.”
Ferrari pitted Leclerc early during his second stint to cover Max Verstappen, who was showing blistering pace.
Leclerc thinks the team fell into Red Bull Racing’s trap, with Ferrari losing a “lot more” having pitted early.
“Yeah, and I’m pretty sure this was his code, to put us under pressure,” assessed Leclerc.
“But I don’t think we should have reacted to that because then it was a snowball effect for us and we lost a lot more than we should have.”
Going into the summer break, Leclerc is now 80 points behind Verstappen, a gap that’ll be somewhat impossible to close.