Ferrari slammed for hurting ‘main contender’ Leclerc who was faster than Sainz despite wing damage

Carlos Sainz won the British Grand Prix after a poor strategic decision cost Charles Leclerc the victory.

Former Formula 1 driver Jolyon Palmer has criticised Ferrari after the poor choices that led to Charles Leclerc losing the British Grand Prix.

The Monegasque picked up damage on the restart following a red flag for a horrific crash involving Zhou Guanyu – from which the Alfa Romeo driver walked away – when an unsighted Sergio Perez turned in on him at Village.

The Mexican was forced to pit as a result, but Leclerc still had remarkably strong pace, and he was being held up by polesitter Carlos Sainz, who was now leading following Max Verstappen’s floor damage when he ran over a piece of debris.

It took several laps for the Scuderia to tell Sainz to move over, and it was not until they had both made their stop that they swapped and, all the while, Sir Lewis Hamilton was maintaining a very healthy gap to pit and re-join with the Prancing Horses.

READ: Ferrari warned ‘the Leclerc situation is exploding’

The seven-time champion was catching them both when a late Safety Car was deployed, and the Maranello side left Leclerc out on track while pitting Sainz in a bizarre move.

Sainz passed his team-mate off the restart, and the 24-year-old fell behind the recovered Perez and Hamilton to end the grand prix fourth.

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto suggested after the race that the pit wall did not believe they had enough time to double stack, but the time lost for Leclerc as a result of not pitting is likely insignificant compared to the time that would have been lost by the Spaniard had they double stacked.

Even if Sainz had lost track position, he would have been on fresh Softs, and had Ferrari swapped their drivers sooner, they might have had time to execute a double stop anyway.

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All in all, it was another mess for Ferrari, and it cost Leclerc a win for the second time this year after the shambles in Monaco.

Initially, Palmer was impressed that Leclerc was running as fast as he was given the damage he had after the contact with Perez.

“Leclerc sustained significant damage to his car following a robust overtaking attempt on Sergio Perez on the opening lap of the restart, which cost him his entire front wing endplate,” he told

“Ferrari declared over the radio that this cost him about five points of downforce, which is a costly but not an insurmountable amount. 

“It’s surprising considering the visible extent of the damage it wasn’t more.”

READ: Ferrari staff hold ‘ugly’ protest after Carlos Sainz’s victory at British GP

The former Renault driver suggested that the Scuderia should have allowed Leclerc to pass Sainz earlier than they did.

“Either way, despite this deficit, Leclerc was faster and was frustrated over the radio at being held up behind Sainz,” added Palmer.

“In fact, this season there have only been two races where Sainz has looked to have demonstrably strong race pace, Monaco and Canada. 

“And in these two, the comparison with Leclerc hasn’t been possible due to traffic for the Monegasque driver.

“Given all of this, and the fact that they were both racing a resurgent Lewis Hamilton, I’m surprised at Ferrari’s indecision at swapping their two drivers early on in the race; it was clearly hurting the prospects of their main contender.” 

Sainz went on to take the win, which was he first of his career, and it moved him back into the top four in the Drivers’ Championship, 54 points behind leader Max Verstappen, who finished seventh after his floor came out worse from its battle with the debris.