Sebastian Vettel’s disabled Aston Martin caused a Virtual Safety Car on lap 11 of the Italian GP, and Ferrari seized the opportunity to have Leclerc, who was leading the race, pit for fresh tyres.
That move, so soon, forced the Monegasque to make a two-stop strategy, something different from what his rival Max Verstappen would do, who was going to one stop.
But while some have concluded that Ferrari made a mistake by stopping so early, rival Red Bull reckons it was a viable option at the time.
However, the deciding factor really was that Ferrari never had the pace to beat the Red Bulls, so they probably wouldn’t have won whatever strategy they followed.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said on Sunday night his team was prepared to pit Max Verstappen if Charles Leclerc hadn’t stopped during VSC, but he doesn’t think strategy was the deciding factor in the race. race.
“We understood why they did it,” he explained. “I think we just had a faster car. Strategically they made a good decision in my opinion. We had a faster car, so I think we would have won regardless of that.”
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said the Cavallino ‘s realized early in the race that they didn’t have the speed or tire management to match Verstappen with the same strategy, so something different had to be tried. .
Reflecting on that decision during the Virtual Safety Car, Binotto said: “In retrospect, we think it was the right decision when they set up the virtual safety car period at that point in the race.
“We knew that Charles had good pace, but Max had less tire degradation and was already faster than us. Following the same strategy as him, one stop, he would have beaten us sooner or later.”
“So the only chance for us was to somehow move the strategy. We were a bit unlucky because the VSC ended while we were still in the pitlane, so we didn’t get the full benefit of the VSC, but I still think Max in general it was faster and it was impossible to beat”.
Binotto said that when teams battle against a faster car, they have to try to do something different with the strategy if they want to have any hope of finishing ahead.
“It’s not that it’s difficult to beat a faster car, it’s impossible,” he lamented. “Usually you win if you have the fastest car and you can only play with the strategies.”
“Whatever the strategy was, Max would have won, that’s the thing. But pitting and putting Charles on a two-stop strategy was not the wrong decision because you never know what might happen later in the race. Never You know how Max’s tire degradation can be on longer runs.”
“If you look at the car behind, for example George’s car, the gap Charles had at the end of the race over George was big and comfortable.
“So overall, it wasn’t a risk, let me say it was a gamble, which could have turned into a positive option.”