Charles Leclerc warned against ‘starting a fight’ with Mattia Binotto and Ferrari

Charles Leclerc lost the win in Budapest due to a poor strategy call from Ferrari.

Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has told Charles Leclerc to “be patient” with the team after he was left frustrated by another strategy error in Hungary.

The Monegasque had already been let down by the Scuderia in Monaco and Silverstone when bizarre calls on the pit wall saw him finish fourth having been leading in both races.

Having criticised the Maranello-based team in Monte Carlo, Leclerc was approached after Carlos Sainz’s win in Britain by team principal Mattia Binotto, with the Italian appearing to wag his finger at the 24-year-old, advising him against speaking out about their mistake.

In Budapest, Leclerc had passed polesitter George Russell for the lead after starting third on the grid, with both he and Sainz having started on the Mediums.

READ: Charles Leclerc insists he’s not ‘hiding’ from his mistakes

Both Ferraris pitted onto the final set of Softs they had available to them, before Max Verstappen, recovering from 10thon the grid, stopped for more Mediums when he caught up to the back of Sainz.

Leclerc had pitted later than Verstappen for the first tyre change, so had the residual grip to go longer on his current set of Mediums and take Softs at the end.

For whatever reason, the Scuderia chose to bring their driver in for Hards, and he was swallowed up by Verstappen and Russell as he watched his chances of a win slip away.

Realising their catastrophic mistake, the team pitted Leclerc again for Softs, and he finished the race P6 while Verstappen took his eighth win of the season.

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After the race, Leclerc was bemused as to why his team decided not to stick with the original plan of pitting for Softs towards the end of the race from the Mediums, as they did with his team-mate, who finished fourth behind third-placed Russell and Sir Lewis Hamilton, who took second.

“For some reason, I don’t know why, we went on the Hards,” he told Sky Sports after the race. 

“I said on the radio I was very comfortable with the medium and that I wanted to go as long as possible with those tyres because the feeling was good – I don’t know why we took a different decision.”

Massa reminded Leclerc that he too had thrown away the win in France when he crashed from the lead, so told him to stay calm and avoid criticising his team in public.

“Well, definitely, he’s not happy at all,” said the Brazilian on Any Driven Monday. 

“But you need to be patient because if you start a fight now, it will not help the team. 

“Charles, we cannot forget, in the last race, he made a mistake that just gave away a very good possibility to win the race and score the right amount of points. 

“So you need to be patient so, even if you’re not happy with the decisions, the mistakes that are happening, you need to fight in the right way, professionally, not showing it outside.

READ: Mattia Binotto ‘in danger during the summer break’

“Because if you start to show outside, it is not helping both sides, even if Ferrari made more mistakes this year, a fight outside will not help them.”

Verstappen’s win saw him extend his lead over Leclerc to 80 points in the Drivers’ Standings, while Sergio Perez’s P5 helped Red Bull open out a 97-point advantage in the Constructors’ Championship.