Double F1 champion tears into Ferrari after Monaco debacle

Ferrari's strategic errors in Monaco meant that polesitter Charles Leclerc ended the race in P4.

Double F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen affirms that no amount of technical improvements will cover over the “human factors” that cost Ferrari victory in Monaco last weekend.

Ferrari have developed an unfortunate reputation for making strategic errors in recent years, and the errors popped again on Sunday when they appeared to panic in changing conditions.

They reacted too late to Sergio Perez’s stop for Intermediate tyres, and took Charles Leclerc off the long strategy straight to Slicks by putting him onto Intermediates too, and this cot him the place to the Mexican.

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Carlos Sainz did go long, but the Scuderia miscalculated the distance between their drivers and called the Monegasque in for Slicks at the same time.

When they realised the mistake they had made, it was once again too late as Leclerc had already entered the pit lane, leading him to scream “What are you doing?!” over the radio.

The double stack for the Maranello side would cost Leclerc a further place to Verstappen, and a traffic-disrupted out lap for Sainz saw Perez take the lead of the race.

The changing of minds on the Ferrari pit wall, in Hakkinen’s eyes, is symptomatic of a team still lacking in confidence.

“In the race, Ferrari hesitated at the key moment, calling Charles in, then pitting him again, and also leaving Carlos out longer than was necessary,” he wrote in his Unibet column.

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“Red Bull got the strategy right, jumping their cars from third and fourth up to first and third.

“I know Ferrari have said they are going to analyse the reasons why their strategy went so badly wrong, but I think the technical analysis will be less important than the human factors.

“What makes one team have the confidence to make the right call, and another team to hesitate and get it wrong? That’s down to people and the confidence which they have in each other when under pressure.”

Perez would hold off Sainz on old Mediums to claim his first Monaco victory, and his third win in Formula 1, and he was consistently faster than Verstappen throughout the weekend.

Hakkinen, who won his titles in 1998 and 1999 with McLaren, praised a “special” performance from the Mexican.

“Winning in Monaco is a very special experience for any driver and Perez has really done something special,” added the 20-time race winner.

“He drove brilliantly all weekend. He made a small mistake hitting the barrier at the end of qualifying and that definitely played a part in setting up the race as it delayed Max while he was on a qualifying run.

“However, Checo was quick on Friday and fastest in final practice so it was clear that the car was working well for him.”

There has been speculation as to the future of the Monaco Grand Prix after its contract officially expired following Sunday’s race.

The reason for the hesitation to renew it is a change of landscape in F1 as they try to appeal to new demographics and bring in a host of new, modern circuits.

The fear is that they will abandon the traditional, iconic circuits such as Monaco, Spa, Silverstone and Monza in favour of circuits like Miami, which made its debut this year.

Hakkinen, however, cannot imagine a future for Monaco without one of its most iconic events taking place.

“Monaco has been holding Grands Prix since 1929 and is a very special race which should remain on the calendar in the long term,” explained the Finn.

“It is a very good test for the driver because of the precision needed. One small mistake and you are out.

“On many of the modern circuits you can drive off the track and there is no problem – you can just come back on again! Monaco punishes mistakes.

“F1 has, of course, developed a lot in recent years with many new circuits and countries joining the World Championship, but it is important to protect the heritage of our sport.

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“Monaco has always developed too, so I hope that together F1 and Monaco will have a very bright future. Each is good for the other.”

Sunday’s race in the Principality was the 68th championship grand prix to be held there since 1950.