Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Charles Leclerc Bemoans Lack of Pace at Silverstone amid ‘Tough Race’ for Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari went into Grand Prix Sunday at Silverstone with high hopes of a strong result as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. started fourth and fifth on the grid, but it was not the day they envisaged as they could only finish ninth and tenth.

It was evident early that the pace of the two SF-23’s was not as good as the team would have liked, with Leclerc dropping off the back of the leading trio up front.  It got worse for the Monegasque driver, who pitted for new hard compound tyres just a handful of laps before the safety car was deployed to retrieve the stranded car of Kevin Magnussen from the Wellington Straight.

An additional pit stop under the safety car to switch to the medium tyre meant he was fighting at the bottom end of the top ten, and he ultimately ended the British Grand Prix in ninth place.

“We lacked pace today and it was a tough race,” said Leclerc.  “We stopped early and lost some positions as I struggled to get a good rhythm on the Hards.

“Then we stopped again, for a new set of Mediums, and I made up a couple of positions at the restart, but then got stuck in a DRS train behind Alex (Albon).”

Leclerc says Ferrari will need to review the race to understand why the pace they showed in Qualifying did not translate into a better race.

“We have some things to review, but our main focus will be to work on our race trim,” he added.

“We were not as quick as expected” – Carlos Sainz Jr.

Team-mate Sainz was equally frustrated with his afternoon, the Spaniard slipping to sixth at the start after being passed by Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s George Russell before being left to fend off the soft-tyre shod Sergio Pérez at the restart.

The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver was able to get ahead, and this left him vulnerable to an attack by Williams Racing’s Alexander Albon, who was also able to slot ahead of Sainz and move him down to eighth at turn one.  In the same manoeuvre, he also lost ninth to his team-mate, but Sainz was able to hold on to the final point in the remaining laps. 

He bemoaned the timing of the safety car intervention as the bunching up of the field and the fact he was on the hard compound made for a difficult end to the day.

“It was a difficult race,” said Sainz.  “We were not as quick as expected and as a consequence we were unable to fight with the cars ahead.

“I managed to extend the stint with the Medium tyres and with the Hard I was fast. Unfortunately, the Safety Car came out at the worst possible time. I did my best at the restart, but battling on old Hards against other cars with fresher tyres is very difficult here.”

Sainz feels results in recent races have been slipping away from Ferrari, but he knows everyone will continue to push in order to turn around their fortunes and return to the podium.

“I feel that better results have been slipping away from us lately, but we’ll keep working and pushing relentlessly, starting from the next race in Hungary,” insisted the Spaniard.

Carlos Sainz Jr. could only finish tenth at Silverstone – Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office