Monday, May 27, 2024

Slow Pit Stop and Speeding Penalty leads to ‘Difficult’ Sunday in Hungary for Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc saw his Hungarian Grand Prix heavily compromised by his two visits to the pit lane on Sunday, with a slow first stop costing him valuable time before he was handed a time penalty for speeding in the pit lane on his second visit.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver felt his pace was good on the first stint and he was managing his race well, but he was unable to better sixth at the chequered flag, which became seventh once his time penalty was applied.

Leclerc’s first visit to the pit lane saw a slow stop of almost ten seconds thanks to a problem fitting his right rear tyre, while he was deemed to have exceeded the pit lane speed limit on his second trip to the pits.

The Monegasque racer hopes for a better weekend in Spa-Francorchamps next weekend to go into the summer break, but overall, he admitted it was a difficult Sunday in Hungary.

“I was quite happy with my pace in the first stint, as we were managing things really well and keeping up with the cars ahead,” said Leclerc.  “Then we lost time on our first pit stop, which put us on the back foot and I had to push to recover some positions.

“The penalty we got after the second stop was another thing that made things more difficult, so all in all, it wasn’t a great day.

“I’m looking forward to Spa and hope that we can finish the first half of the season on a high there.”

“We were expecting more at this track” – Carlos Sainz Jr.

Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. made up five places on the opening lap at the Hungaroring to run sixth but struggles with tyre degradation on the medium and hard compounds made for a tricky afternoon in the Hungarian heat.

Sainz was following team-mate Leclerc in the opening stages, but he slipped further behind him in the latter stages, meaning he was unable to stay within five seconds of the Monegasque racer.

He also lost a place to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s George Russell, who appeared to make a simple move down the start/finish straight, and ultimately was classified down in eighth, not the resulting he or the team were hoping for.

“We had a good start, making up five places on the first lap, and a very good first stint with the Softs, managing to stretch the tyre life,” said Sainz.  “Unfortunately, with the Hard compound and longer stints to do, we struggled with rear degradation and didn’t have the pace of the front runners, which is our main weakness at the moment.

“We were expecting more at this track and we need to look into our main areas of improvement.”

Carlos Sainz Jr. finished eighth in Hungary – Credit: Zak Mauger / LAT Images, courtesy of Pirelli Motorsport