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Leclerc defends second pit stop as he feared Verstappen overtake

  • Published on 29 Sep 2019 17:48
  • comments 4
  • By: Dieter Rencken & Fergal Walsh

Charles Leclerc has defended Ferrari's decision to pit for a second time during the Russian Grand Prix, which conceded second place to Valtteri Bottas.

Leclerc made his first stop on lap 22, however both Mercedes cars fitted soft tyres on lap 28, as a virtual safety car was called when Sebastian Vettel retired from the race.

Lewis Hamilton emerged in the lead with Leclerc in second, but that soon became third when he too opted for soft tyres until the end.

Leclerc explained that he was wary of being on more worn tyres compared to his rivals, and believed that he may have lost a position to not only Valtteri Bottas but also to Max Verstappen at the restart, with the latter running in fourth place at the time. 

"It was a tricky situation," Leclerc said."Staying on mediums that had already five or six laps compared to softs that were new, especially for the restart after the safety car I think everyone is struggling to keep the tyres in temperature.

"If you are on the medium, you are already at a disadvantage and if it's a bit worn then it's another disadvantage so we didn't want to take the risk to lose more than one position. 

"I think we did the right choice, looking back you can always think about a better scenario but at that point I think it was the right decision for us."

Leclerc denies that there are trust issues between himself and teammate Sebastian Vettel after the latter didn't let Leclerc through after he was aided by his slipstream on lap one in a pre-race agreement. 

"I think the trust doesn't change and I think we need to trust each other, Seb and myself," Leclerc stated.

"I think it's hugely important for the benefit of the team in some situation, to know that you can count on the other car and vice versa. I think it's very important but yes, the trust is still here."

Replies (4)

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  • f1ski

    Posts: 548

    I have mixed feelings about the stop in hind site with the great difficulties with passing perhaps roll the dice and not pit but at least maranello was dynamic with this element of strategy

    • + 0
    • Sep 29 2019 - 18:30
    • abhidbgt

      Posts: 235

      Track layout played a significant role in this, I think. As the sector where ferrai were slowest was just preceding the biggest straight so Leclerc was never within that crucial striking distance. That said Sochi is a track infamous for it's lack of overtakes, so in hindsight track position would have 🐝 better.

      • + 0
      • Sep 29 2019 - 19:12
  • Ferrari doesn't seem to know what to do with two drivers that can win races. They are so used to enforcing team orders to the max. I don't think they expected Charles to start getting on top of Seb this soon. It has sure made for some entertaining races. It won't get any better for Ferrari in terms of easy decisions. Charles will continue to improve

    • + 0
    • Sep 29 2019 - 23:07
  • They did well all in all, the only thing that made it all fall apart was Vettel's retirement what screwed them over twice in one retirement.

    • + 0
    • Sep 30 2019 - 10:54

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