1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has criticised Ferrari’s decision-making on the pit wall for Carlos Sainz’s P5 at the French Grand Prix.
The Spaniard started the race 19th after taking an engine penalty, and was recovering up the order when a Safety Car was deployed for a crash involving team-mate Charles Leclerc.
The team put him onto Mediums, but they suffered a slow stop and, when they released him, they did so straight into the path of Alex Albon, earning the 27-year-old a five-second penalty.
There were question marks as to whether the Mediums could make it to the end, and the Scuderia eventually decided to call Sainz back in while he was in the middle of an overtake on Sergio Perez for P3.
He served his penalty in the pit stop before passing Esteban Ocon, Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso to finish P5, picking up the fastest lap in the process.
Ultimately though, Villeneuve reckons the Italian side made the wrong decision in not leaving him out to extend his advantage over Perez and try to grab a podium.
“Sainz was unlucky, first it went wrong at his stop, the penalty he got afterwards I think should have been redeemed,” he wrote in his Formule1.de column.
“Sainz made a really brilliant move on Pérez and still seemed to have the speed to run away, they then act hesitantly at the pit wall at Ferrari and that cost Sainz points.
“It looked like he didn’t trust his team, but remember we only hear bits of radio communication.
“Besides, the team has the data, they know the state of the tyres, but if you bring him in, do it earlier.
“Then you give him time to make up for it.”
Max Verstappen went on to win the race as he and Red Bull extended their advantages in the respective championships.