Leclerc reveals if Binotto warned him against criticising Ferrari after Silverstone shambles

A strategic nightmare from Ferrari saw Charles Leclerc fall from first to fourth in the closing laps of the British Grand Prix..

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has insisted that team principal Mattia Binotto was simply trying to console him following the British Grand Prix after it appeared that the Italian was warning him not to criticise the team in his interviews.

Leclerc picked up front wing damage after contact with Sergio Perez on the opening lap of the restarted race following a red flag caused by a horrible looking crash for Zhou Guanyu.

Despite missing an endplate, the Monegasque was quicker than team-mate Carlos Sainz, who had lost and then regained the lead from Max Verstappen after the Spaniard made a mistake at Chapel, only for some dislodged debris to destroy Verstappen’s floor and ruin his chances of winning.

Mercedes’ Sir Lewis Hamilton was bearing down on the two Ferraris, and Leclerc was desperate to be allowed to pass his team-mate before the seven-time champion caught him, and he was eventually allowed through after their stops.

The Safety Car was brought out by Esteban Ocon’s retirement as Hamilton was catching again on fresh tyres, but the Scuderia left Leclerc out while bringing Sainz in for fresh Softs.

READ: ‘Selfish’ Sainz shut down questionable strategic call by Ferrari to leave Leclerc a sitting duck

The Spaniard passed the 24-year-old to retake the lead, before Leclerc fell behind Perez, who had recovered from the damage he also picked up as a legacy of the contact, as well as Hamilton, who claimed his third podium of the season.

Binotto was seen appearing to wag his finger at a dejected Leclerc after the race, but the four-time race winner insisted that it was not a telling off.

“Obviously he wanted to cheer me up, that’s it,” he told Sky Sports.

Article continues below

“Again, we will have to look at the global picture, no? On my side I only have my picture of my race.

“Obviously, in the car sometimes you don’t have the full picture; on my side I feel like I’ve lost a little bit too much time in the first stint especially and in the first part of the second stint.

“This is only my view and it might change once I see the full picture.”

READ: Sainz amazed by ‘special’ British GP win as Hamilton had ‘one of his days’

Binotto elaborated on why the Maranello-based side decided to pit Sainz and not Leclerc, given their proximity on the circuit when the Safety Car was deployed.

“We believed we didn’t have enough space between the two cars to stop both of them,” explained the Italian.

“So we had to make a choice between the first or the second car, so we decided to stop Carlos simply because Charles got the track position and was still leading, and remained leader of the race at that time.

“So, we don’t know what the others would have done if we would have stopped the leader, so for us it was clear, not stopping Charles and keeping track position, and stopping Carlos which was the only one which we could have stopped.

“And then we were hoping for more tyre degradation on the Softs [but] that didn’t happen.”

Sainz’s victory is his first-ever in Formula 1, and it takes him back into the top four in the championship ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell, whose crash with Pierre Gasly started the melee at Turn One.