Ex-Formula 1 driver and 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve believes Ferrari held the advantage over Red Bull during 2022 Austrian Grand Prix and were able to unsettle Red Bull by not taking the Austrian’s team strategy bait.
After facing a series of issues that as seen him fail to covert his last four pole positions into race victories, Charles Leclerc was able to win the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix, beating Max Verstappen in emphatic fashion, despite experiencing a late scare with his throttle pedal.
While Leclerc’s drive must be commended unlike the past few races, Ferrari also executed two perfectly timed pit stops to aide the Monegasque driver on his way to victory.
“Red Bull looked a little unsettled, trying an aggressive strategy to lure Ferrari into the pits but the Scuderia didn’t budge,” Villenueve said in his column for Formule1.nl.
“It was clear that Ferrari were better on the road with a full tank [of fuel] on Sunday, Leclerc was able to get to the apex more easily and had better grip on the exit than Verstappen.”
Leclerc beat Verstappen with equal means
Villeneuve also praised Leclerc’s ability to beat Verstappen when the two were on equal footing. The Canadian was referencing Leclerc’s move on Verstappen on Lap 12 of the race when the Ferrari driver made a bold move on the Dutchman going into Turn 4.
“For Leclerc, the win is obviously good for his confidence,” Villeneuve stated.
“That first overtaking manoeuvre on Verstappen especially, that was with equal means: the same amount of fuel and the same tyres.
“That was a nice fight, after that there were too many differences in tyres plus the DRS. Verstappen didn’t really defend there either.”
Verstappen fortunate to finish second
The Canadian finally touched on Carlos Sainz’s retirement with Villenueve stating that Verstappen was lucky to come away with P2.
“Luckily for Verstappen, Carlos crashed out,” Villeneuve continued.
“That was a painful one for him, by the way, it looked dangerous with that rolling car. It’s just harder to get out of the car with the halo.
“It was a shame we got the VSC instead of the safety car. I don’t see any consistency there either this year. I think you should always use the safety car in the race, it’s safer anyway.”