Ferrari defend Charles Leclerc decision after more embarrassment

Charles Leclerc qualified P10 in Brazil and was the only driver not to go out on the slick tyres in Q3.

Charles Leclerc was absolutely livid following Ferrari’s decision in Brazil to send him out on intermediate tyres during qualifying, despite every other driver setting a lap time on the softs.

The 25-year-old’s patience is beginning to wear thin with the Scuderia after a succession of errors this season have cost the driver a shot at the title, including pitting him in Spa to attempt the fastest lap, but getting their calculations wrong and seeing their driver actually lose a position to Fernando Alonso.

After questioning the decision to go out on intermediates over the team radio, Leclerc asked “am I the only one on inters?”. To which he was told that he was, leading Leclerc to fire back with a sarcastic answer about the ‘beautiful’ decision.

“I accepted the decision to go on inters and then I just waited for the rain that never came,” said Leclerc when asked for his view on the Scuderia’s tactics.

READ: Mick Schumacher could block Daniel Ricciardo’s Mercedes move

Ferrari’s sporting director Laurent Mekies has now come out to defend his team’s decision, suggesting that they had to take a gamble on one of their drivers, knowing that one of them would probably come away disappointed, such was the unpredictability of the conditions.

“You always know at that very moment as you cars are going out [on different tyres] that depending on the exact timing of the rain it is going to be one happy man an done unhappy man, and that’s exactly what happened,” said Mekies.

“The rain came probably a minute too late for Charles and it was probably the right timing for Carlos.”

READ: Lewis Hamilton says FIA president’s promise ‘doesn’t mean anything to me’

Article continues below

With rain expected to come in the session, it seems obvious to at least attempt a lap on the slicks, and should the track get wet then pit for the intermediate tyres, leading to a lot of confused fans who feel that Ferrari missed the obvious option.

Leclerc will hope to use the third and final sprint race of the season to recover a number of places on the grid, and begin Sunday’s race higher up the grid and compete for the win.

Max Verstappen recently suggested that the only use for sprint races is for those drivers who find themselves out of position from qualifying to charge through the pack and return to a more expected grid position for the main race, something that Leclerc will hope to take advantage of in the 100km Saturday race.