La Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy has criticised Ferrari after Charles Leclerc had another win cruelly taken from his grasp at the British Grand Prix.
Leclerc had taken the lead from team-mate Carlos Sainz when the Spaniard was told to move over following pressure from the Monegasque, but Leclerc had been on the radio for several laps asking to be allowed by.
The Ferraris were under pressure from the Mercedes of Sir Lewis Hamilton, with Red Bull seemingly out of the picture after Max Verstappen picked up floor damage following Sergio Perez’s contact with Leclerc that forced him to pit.
The 24-year-old looked as though he had the win sealed heading into the final 12 laps when the Safety Car was deployed for Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, which had come to a stop on the old pit straight following a failure.
Almost inexplicably, Ferrari opted not to pit Leclerc while they brought Sainz in behind him, and this left Leclerc vulnerable to those behind him on fresh Softs.
He was passed by Sainz, Perez and Hamilton as he finished fourth, with the Spaniard taking his maiden victory in the pinnacle of motorsport.
Leclerc had already been adversely by a strategy call in Monaco, where he lost the win having started on pole, and the Italian publication attacked team principal Mattia Binotto, who appeared to tell Leclerc to keep his cool after the completion of the race.
“Leclerc is punished by the people at the pit wall,” they wrote.
“Sainz is celebrating, but the Leclerc situation is exploding.
“How can you ask Leclerc to stay calm?
“He could win for the first time since Australia, but just like in Monaco Ferrari went wrong with their tactics, so Ferrari are missing out on points and barely benefiting from Max Verstappen’s problems.
“It is totally unclear whether Ferrari is focusing on one driver or still betting on two horses.”
The BBC indicated that Red Bull would not have made the same errors had Verstappen and Perez been in the same position.
“As the British Grand Prix unfolded, and Ferrari made a series of decisions that would have been unexpected – perhaps even unimaginable – if their rivals Red Bull had been in the same position, many people were asking themselves whether Ferrari had their priorities straight,” they added.
Leclerc was keen after the race to deflect the attention away from the team’s decisions by congratulating team-mate Sainz on his first-ever race win.
“I don’t want the focus to be on my disappointing race,” he told Sky Sports.
“More towards his incredible race win and obviously the first win in Formula 1 is always extremely special, and it’s great for the team.
“It’s great for Carlos, he kept building confidence in the last few races and today he has shown it.
“Obviously very happy for him by also very disappointing for me so it’s a mixed feeling but overall I hope that we come back stronger at the next race on my side.”
The BBC, however, is struggling to see how anyone can move away from the inquest that surely has to happen at Maranello as to how they managed to let a one-two slip away.
“Leclerc might not want Ferrari’s decision-making to be a headline, but there is no way that it cannot be after what happened at Silverstone, where they made a series of calls that caused more than one observer to remark that it looked like they were actively trying to lose Leclerc the race and the championship,” they stated.
Sainz’s win moves him back into the top four in the Drivers’ Standings, 11 points behind third-placed Leclerc.