Ferrari boss breaks silence on favouring Charles Leclerc over Carlos Sainz

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has addressed claims he failed to make the most of the strong showing from Carlos Sainz.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz’s showed impressive pace around the Hungaroring last week, closely matching his teammate Charles Leclerc.

With Ferrari prioritising Leclerc in their strategy call, Sainz was forced to settle for his position, being denied the chance to even attempt an undercut.

Looking back at the race, Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has light on the decision-making process behind their tactics.

Despite displaying superior pace on his soft tires, Sainz was not permitted to challenge Lewis Hamilton, who was ahead of Leclerc. 

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When the pitstop window opened, it was Leclerc who was called in first, effectively denying Sainz the chance to continue a potentially advantageous strategy.

The Spanish media expressed disappointment over the way Sainz was handled by the team. Italy’s quoted Vasseur’s response to the strategy, referring to it as an indirect response to the Spanish press.

Vasseur explained, “It was the best way to secure the team result. 

“We took into account Carlos’ softs and the wear of these tires. Leclerc had the potential to finish 20 seconds ahead of him.”

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Defending the team’s decision, Vasseur stated that they believed it was the right choice given the circumstances. 

He emphasised that unforeseen factors such as issues with the wheel gun or penalties could come into play, making the strategy a carefully calculated risk.

“We made the right choice. 

“Nobody can predict beforehand whether there will be a problem with the ‘wheel gun’ or a penalty. 

“It’s always easy to talk and look back after the checkered flag is waved,” Vasseur explained, highlighting the unpredictable nature of Formula 1 races.

Vasseur acknowledged that Sunday’s race presented a challenging task for Ferrari, and starting positions played a crucial role. 

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Sainz started from P11, while Leclerc had a better starting position from P6. 

With these starting positions, Ferrari had hoped for a better result.

“We could have finished fifth. It feels like a missed opportunity for us,” concluded the team boss, reflecting on the potential they saw in their drivers’ performances.