Ferrari stands by pit call despite late Leclerc spin

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari stands by its decision to pit Charles Leclerc in the latter stages of the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix despite it triggering the mistake which saw him drop from third to sixth.

The championship leader bounced over the kerb at Variante Alta in the closing stages as he chased down Sergio Perez, spinning off the track and making light contact with the barrier.

In need of a new front wing, it saw Leclerc fall off the podium and give up a further seven points on Max Verstappen, who won the race.

The call to pit Leclerc was made in an effort to open an opportunity as he battled with Perez but was unable to find a way through.

“At that time maybe of the race, the pace with Sergio Perez was very, very similar, or slightly better,” team boss Mattia Binotto explained.

“But because we believe that there was no opportunity for us to attack and overtake Perez with those tyres anymore, we did the pit stops to try, to hope at least, that they would have stopped as well.”

That proved to be the case, Perez maintaining second but with the gap having reduced.

It was then that Leclerc spun, dropping himself down the order as he recovered to the pits for a new front wing.

“I saw the opportunity that before I didn’t think it was there,” Leclerc conceded.

“It was very clear to me that I think today was third place, and that was what was possible, but I saw the opportunity and I still tried it.

“Went a bit quicker in Turn 14/15 [Variante Alta], took too much kerb and spun.

“All points count and today I’ve put away seven points now against the 15 that we had if we were finishing third.”

Binotto meanwhile is not upset with his driver, reasoning that they are likely to make mistakes from time to time.

“There will be never regret to ask a driver to push,” he said.

“That is part of our job, it’s part of their job, to try and drive to the limit. Obviously mistakes may happen.”

Despite the error, Leclerc has moved his drivers’ championship tally along to 86 points from the opening four races.

He holds a 27-point advantage over Verstappen, who claimed maximum points across the Grand Prix and Sprint Qualifying in Imola.

The Miami Grand Prix is Round 5 of the 2022 season on May 6-8.

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