BUDAPEST, Hungary — Ferrari must get better in every area after the team blundered its way through the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Ferrari’s track record of poor strategy calls continued on Sunday as Leclerc went from leading the race to finishing 16 seconds behind Max Verstappen, who looks likely to wrap this year’s championship up with a handful of races to spare.
The strategy Ferrari chose was not on any of the four projected fastest strategies Formula One tyre supplier Pirelli mapped out ahead of the race.
Leclerc’s second stop saw Ferrari fit the hardest Pirelli tyre to the car despite the fact Kevin Magnussen and both Alpine drivers had struggled with the same compound during the race.
Leclerc had wanted to stay on the medium and switch to the soft tyre at the end.
“I made it clear that the medium [tyre] I wanted to keep it as long as possible, but we pitted very early for the hard, which we need to understand why,” Leclerc said after the race.
Leclerc’s hopes of challenging for the championship have fallen apart this year through a combination of Ferrari strategic blunders, reliability issues and two mistakes of his own at Imola and Paul Ricard.
When asked if it was frustrating to see another race slip away, he said: “Obviously, a race like this is frustrating. And need to get better as a whole.
“You know, it always feels like there’s always something going on, whatever is, reliability, mistakes, whatever. But we need to be better putting a weekend together. And yeah, we will try and use the few days that we have to reset, but obviously also to analyse and to understand where we need to be better, and what we can do to get better, because this is extremely important.”
Ferrari had looked comfortably fastest on Friday practice but did not have a clear pace advantage on Sunday, when temperatures had cooled significantly.
Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz pointed that out in his postrace interviews.
“I think we were lacking pace, and I also don’t think we did that many mistakes. I think when you lack pace like Red Bull did in Austria, no-one said ‘can Red Bull keep doing these mistakes?’ No. We had a very bad pace today, I think.”
He added: “We need to analyse how we can go on Friday from being half a second clear on pace in race pace from everyone, and pushing flat out on tyres to all of a sudden degrading more with 30 degrees less track temp, and not have that pace advantage. For me that was clearly something on the pace that went away from us in these temperatures specifically.”