Leclerc 'disappointed' with botched Ferrari tyre gamble in Q3

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Another race weekend, another strategy misstep for Ferrari whose inter tyre choice for Charles Leclerc left the Monegasque holding the short end of the straw.

Focused on its weather radar, the Ferrari pitwall opted to split its strategies at the start of Q3 by fitting softs to Carlos Sainz's F1-75 and bolting on a set of inters to Leclerc's car.

The decision raised eyebrows in the pitlane as track conditions at that point still pointed to the soft tyre as the compound of choice, a pick validated by every other team and driver without exception.

Unsurprisingly, it only took a lap for Leclerc to realise that Ferrari's weather prediction would not pan out,

"We were expecting some rain which never came," he said after qualifying a lowly 10th.

"I will speak with the team and try to understand what we can do better in those conditions, but I'm extremely disappointed but the pace was there.

"For now, we need to get on it and still do everything good for the rest of the weekend."


Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies attempted to justify a decision that sidestepped motorsport's golden rule that calls for a car to be fitted with the slick tyre if conditions are dry, which was the case at the start of Q3.

"It's a bit frustrating because we got both cars into Q3, and then we were confronted with a tough choice," commented Mekies.

"On one side, you have the track still being dry. And there is a golden rule that says that you should go for that track while it is dry.

"On the other side, we were expecting heavy rain imminently. Therefore, at the end of the day, we have split our cars [strategy]."

Oddly, despite Sainz's five-place grid penalty for Sunday's race, Ferrari chose to assign the inters to Leclerc instead of the Spaniard. But Mekies admitted that there was always going to be one unhappy Ferrari driver at the end of the day.

"You always know, at that very moment where your cars are going out that, depending on the exact timing of the rain, it's going to be one happy man and one unhappy man," added the Frenchman.

"That's exactly what happened.

"The rain came probably a minute or two too late for Charles, and was probably the right timing for Carlos who was second on track. It's the way it is: P5 and P10. It's the start of a long, long weekend."


Strategy has been Ferrari's costly Achilles heal this season, and that weakness was once again in plain view in qualifying.

Mekies acknowledged that Friday's challenging conditions were another opportunity to learn for the Italian outfit.

"We have had many, many good qualifyings this year, including in very tricky conditions like today," he said.

"But in this sort of difficult situation, there is always a lot to learn about the right decisions to make and about the less right.

"Certainly it's something that we have taken on board, with good habits, to analyse in detail with teams with drivers and pull together to always look at after. We will use today to make another step together."

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