Charles Leclerc’s United States Grand Prix couldn’t have gone any worse on Sunday, despite the fact he started on pole position.
Whilst Leclerc started on pole, his time in the lead lasted only a matter of seconds, as Lando Norris overtook him at the first corner.
It quickly became clear that Ferrari didn’t have the pace to compete with the frontrunners, as Leclerc was soon overtaken by both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Ferrari opted to put Leclerc onto a one-stop strategy, something only a couple of drivers attempted at the Circuit of the Americas.
Ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle seemed to recognise that Leclerc was attempting a one-stop strategy fairly early on in the race, as the 26-year-old put up very little fight against either Hamilton or Verstappen.
“Leclerc was a day late and a dollar short on that defence,” Brundle said, whilst commentating for Sky Sports F1.
Leclerc was just trying to nurse his tyres; however, the two-stop strategy was significantly quicker.
This resulted in Carlos Sainz overtaking Leclerc for P4, with the Spaniard having been put on the ideal two-stop strategy by Ferrari.
Leclerc was infuriated by this given that he was put on the riskier strategy, despite having started from pole position.
He complained over the radio and insisted that it’d be discussed behind-the-scenes after the race.
Even Sergio Perez managed to get past Leclerc, who crossed the line in P5.
In the end, Leclerc’s efforts were for absolutely nothing, as he was disqualified from the race.
Random post-race checks discovered that the floor of his SF-23 didn’t meet the technical regulations, neither did Hamilton’s.
Both drivers were disqualified as a result, rubbing salt in the wound for Leclerc.
Given how strong Leclerc looked over one-lap at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), the fact he was given a weaker strategy by Ferrari does raise eyebrows.
It became clear very early in the race that a one-stop strategy wouldn’t work, with tyre degradation having been particularly high.
Ferrari ultimately left it too late to switch to a one-stop, meaning that questions will once again be asked regarding their strategic management.