Formula 1 | Ferrari: Leclerc would have won the race without retiring

Ferrari has analyzed the strategies of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and believes that Charles Leclerc had the pace and tactics to beat Baku ahead of Max Verstappen. This is clear from the reports of the director of strategy, Inaki Rueda.

According to him, the fact that the Scuderia returned to Leclerc under a virtual security car regime to put on hard rubber, where Red Bull communicated poorly and missed that stop, could have allowed him to seek success.

“Leclerc was fighting for the lead with Pérez and had Verstappen in the gearbox” Rueda explained. “Verstappen has entered Charles’ DRS rank and that’s something we’ve been working on lately.”

“Because with so few gaps with Red Bull, we find ourselves winning or losing races with the DRS advancing. In Baku, we carried a different rear spoiler and worked on our strategies.”

“When Carlos stopped we realized that it was very likely that there would be a period of virtual safety car. And we prepared with Charles for pits in case the race management thought that” we had to deploy the safety car virtual “.

“It was crucial for our race because a pit stop under a virtual safety car costs about 10 seconds less than a normal pit stop. And thanks to that, Charles was able to make his only pit stop in the race. with much less wasted time than the two Red Bulls. “

A possible victory … but in conditions

Rueda points out that Leclerc had the strategy to win, but without the intervention of another virtual security car, which happened when Kevin Magnussen had to immobilize his Haas next to the track.

“After the Virtual Safety Car lap in the ninth lap, Charles was about to go to the finish with hard tires. Red Bull tried to run as long as possible with medium tires, but they were losing a lot of performance. have a lot of degradation “.

“Perez wasted a lot of time trying to get as far as possible to get out with Charles. Unfortunately, after 11 laps with the hard tires, Charles suffered a breakdown and that cut short our career.”

“Our simulations indicate that if it hadn’t been for another virtual period of Safety Car, Charles would have won the race comfortably against Verstappen.”

Red Bull explains its strategic “reasoning”

On the Red Bull side, coach Christian Horner explains that the team was expecting a fight between Leclerc and Max Verstappen, but that it was not voluntary for the Dutchman to pit again during the first VSC.

“We told Max to do the opposite of Leclerc” says Horner. “We felt that at that moment Max had more pace than Charles, he was pushing him, pushing him, pushing him, but Charles, in turn, benefited from Checo’s draw.”

“And so the effect of the DRS wasn’t as great as it should normally have been. So we chose to stay on track. I think it was very early, and apart from six laps of a long race on Friday, we didn’t know how these tires were degrading. “

“So our strategy at the time was to make a bigger difference to having colder tires for our riders, without the difference being too big for Charles. So that was the reasoning behind it all.”

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