Ferrari‘s overall pace was to blame for their 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix downfall rather than poor strategy, according to team boss Mattia Binotto.
The team qualified second and third and it looked a golden opportunity for Charles Leclerc to make up points on Max Verstappen, but after pitting on Lap 39, Leclerc was never back in contention for the lead and slumped to a six-placed finish as the Dutchman won.
“When we fitted the hards, our simulation was that it would’ve been a difficult couple of laps of warmup,” Binotto told the press.
“They would’ve been slower to the medium for 10-11 laps but then they would’ve come back and they would’ve been faster by the end of the stint and it was a 30-lap stint.
“So we fitted our tyres at the time because it was a 30-lap stint and we were trying to protect position on Max.
“It would’ve been too long certainly for the soft and our analysis was yes it would’ve been a difficult start to the stint but it would’ve come back by the end. Overall the tyres didn’t work.”
Disastrous second stint
Leclerc only ran an 18-lap stint on his second set of medium tyres, despite saying he wanted to run as long as possible on the set.
In that time he passed George Russell after battling the Mercedes for a few laps. But he after pitting for hards on lap 39 he was overtaken twice by Verstappen, and couldn’t find any pace before Ferrari added further insult by switching him to softs, dropping him to a sixth place he never recovered from.
“We had a long discussion on Sunday morning and whilst Charles’ comment is that we should’ve stayed out on the medium, we will meet with him and discuss it again,” Binotto said when asked why they went against Leclerc‘s wishes.
“When we stopped we were simply trying to protect the position from Max.”
Race was unwinnable
Binotto was keen to stress he didn’t think the botched strategy was the main reason for Leclerc losing the win.
“What we were lacking today was really speed and pace and I don’t think we could’ve won today, I don’t think so,” Binotto said.
“It’s the first time in 13 races that we didn’t have the speed to be there for the victory so we need to look first into that.”