Charles Leclerc fell victim once again to a strategic nightmare from Scuderia Ferrari, after having another potential race victory taken from him.
Leclerc made an excellent start to the race; the Monegasque driver managed to get past George Russell and Carlos Sainz, to claim the lead of the race.
However, Ferrari were forced into taking their second pit-stop, potentially earlier than they had planned, after being forced to react to a charging Max Verstappen who was brought in for his second stop by Red Bull Racing.
Ferrari, however, made the strange decision to put Leclerc on the Hard compound, despite Pirelli advising all the teams to avoid using them.
Prior to the race, none of Pirelli’s advised race strategies included the Hard compound.
As Leclerc found out, the tyre was almost impossible to warm-up, and as a result was forced into yet another stop which dropped him to sixth.
It’s the third time this season that Ferrari have cost Leclerc a victory with a poor strategy, with Leclerc once again revealing to Sky Sports F1 that he has no idea why his team made a “different decision”.
“I said on the radio that I was very comfortable with the Medium tyres and that I wanted to go as long as possible with those tyres, because the feeling was good, but I don’t know why we took a different decision.”
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto attempted to give a reason as to why they opted to put Leclerc on the Hards.
The Italian admitted that the team knew the compound had “warm-up difficulties”, but that they believed the tyre would “somehow” be beneficial.
“We knew the Hard tyres have got some warm-up difficulties,” Binotto told Sky Sports F1.
“A couple of laps and they would not have been as fast as the Medium for 10/11 laps, but then to the end it was a stint of 30 laps.
“We believed that they could have been fast enough somehow to be in the race, and try to certainly have a good position by the end of the race.
“But overall, they didn’t work as we were expecting. I think the main reason of it [was] because the car was not working as we were expecting, but let’s see, let’s analyse and let’s have a conclusion later.”
The poor decision by the team saw Leclerc fall to 80 points behind championship leader Max Verstappen, who inherited victory from Ferrari’s strategic crisis.
As well as this, Ferrari have slipped to 97 points behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship.
The Italian team are at severe risk of even losing second place, with the Mercedes F1 Team just 30 points behind, following back-to-back double podiums.