Scuderia Ferrari have slipped to 97 points behind Red Bull Racing in the Constructors’ Championship, after costing Charles Leclerc victory once again with another strategic blunder.
Leclerc drove excellently to make his way to the front, having started third, whilst looking like he had the pace to cruise to victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
However, Ferrari robbed their own driver of victory once again, with a strategic decision that still leaves many confused.
After showing strong pace on the Medium tyres, Ferrari decided to cut Leclerc’s second stint short, and pit him to cover an attack from Max Verstappen.
Bizarrely, instead of another set of Mediums, Ferrari fitted Leclerc with the Hard compound tyre at the Hungaroring.
Pirelli ahead of the race had advised all the teams not to use the hardest rubber available, due to it being incredibly difficult to warm-up because of a cool track surface.
Ferrari decided not to listen to the tyre manufacturer, before quickly discovering that Pirelli were correct with their predictions.
Leclerc slid all over the circuit, after finding the tyre impossible to warm-up.
It resulted in Leclerc being pitted once again shortly after, with the two stops dropping the 24-year-old from P1, to P6 where he finished the race.
Leclerc questioned Ferrari’s strategy, by telling the media after the race that he felt “very strong” on the middle compound.
Team principal Mattia Binotto failed to accept any form of responsibility, after saying that the car struggled for performance on all the dry compounds, going against what Leclerc said.
Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher thinks Binotto’s time in F1 is close to an end, with Leclerc having lost the race lead three times this season due to a strategic error by the Italian team.
“I already see him [Binotto] in danger during the summer break,” he told Sky Germany.
“There are too many little things that went wrong and there are too many technical problems. When you get a gift like that, to be able to race for the world championship again, and you jeopardise it like that and throw it away, it is very wry.
“It was a bad decision to use the tyres you needed in the race on Friday. That was bitter for Ferrari. I don’t understand Leclerc’s last stop. They gave away two more places. I don’t think Red Bull expected this help.”