Ex-F1 champion criticises ‘weird’ Ferrari strategy

Charles Leclerc finished fourth after starting on pole following a series of errors from Ferrari in Monte Carlo.

2009 world champion Jenson Button is unsure why Ferrari did not immediately respond to Red Bull after their first stop in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc was leading the way from pole in wet conditions when Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen pitted for Inters, but Ferrari gave the Mexican a two-lap undercut before bringing the Monegasque into the pits.

This put the 32-year-old ahead of Leclerc, who was then held up when he was forced to slow down ahead of his stop into Slicks while the team were servicing team-mate Carlos Sainz’s car after the Spaniard went long on Wets.

Leclerc lost third to Verstappen as a result, and Perez beat Sainz to victory when the 27-year-old got caught up behind the Williams of Nicholas Latifi on his out lap.

It culminated another miserable afternoon for the Italian side, and Button cannot fathom why they pitted Leclerc in between two strategies, ultimately costing him a place on the podium.

READ: ‘Do I go to Google or look into Amazon?’ FIA president stresses importance of finding new stewards

“It’s a little bit weird that Ferrari didn’t jump immediately when they saw his [Perez’s] sector times,” he said.

“The first sector they saw, they should have immediately jumped into the pits after that and they would have kept the lead, but it’s always a lot more when you are leading a race.

“Pitting, you always feel like you’re giving up track position. I think that maybe they thought about it too much and should have jumped at the chance to pit Charles.”

Article continues below

READ: Wolff responds to fresh porpoising concerns as Hamilton warns Mercedes ‘could easily get it wrong’

Ferrari’s woes take nothing away from a splendid performance from Perez to claim the third win of his career and Button, who spent the 2013 season racing alongside the Mexican at McLaren, is delighted to see him sign a new deal with the Austrian outfit that keeps him there until 2024.

“It’s great that he’s staying there,” added the Briton.

“It’s great for that team to have a bit of continuity as well with the second driver, or the driver alongside Max.

“We haven’t seen that at Red Bull while Max has been there so it’s good for Max, it’s great for Checo and this is just building his confidence – signing a new deal and winning in Monaco.

“I think everyone loves Checo. I was team-mates with Checo in 2013 so I know his pace, his passion and his love for this sport, and it’s really nice to see him get that victory.”

Perez’s win leaves him 15 points behind leader Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship, with Leclerc six points up ahead in second.