RACING

Binotto says Hungarian GP wasn’t winnable for Ferrari – and says tire choice wasn’t a deciding factor

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Charles Leclerc says the decision to switch to hard tires halfway through the Hungarian Grand Prix cost him a chance of victory. But Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto countered that view after the race, saying that although the decision to use the tough guys was the wrong one, Ferrari endured bigger problems in Budapest on Sunday.

Carlos Sainz and Leclerc started P2 and P3 on the grid, with Leclerc showing strong pace on his medium tires from the start, as he jumped Sainz in the pit stops before passing poleman George Russell for the race lead in the 31st round.

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READ MORE: ‘It was a disaster’ – Leclerc ‘very disappointed’ with 6th in Budapest as he singles out what cost him a chance of victory

Subsequently, however, Leclerc would fall in order after a second stop for the hards, eventually heading home P6 after a third stop to ditch those tires for a set of softs – while a soft-shod Sainz was also caught and passed by Lewis Hamilton for P3 in the last 10 laps to finish P4.

During Sunday night’s race Binotto was asked about the decision to put Leclerc on the hard tyre, the Swiss replied: “When we rode the hard, our simulation was that it could have been tough a few warm up laps, slower than average for 10-11 laps, then he would come back and be faster at the end of the stint – and it was a 30 lap stint.

“Based on our data and analysis, we knew the hard wasn’t as fast as the medium, but it could have been as fast 11 laps into the stint… Yeah, it didn’t work and we wouldn’t have adapted them if we had known they would be so bad.

Leclerc ‘very disappointed’ with P6 and baffled by decision to switch to toughs

When asked if the Ferrari pit wall had been keeping tabs on Alpine’s progress, meanwhile, with the Anglo-French team’s drivers also having struggled on the hard after riding them earlier in the race than Leclerc, Binotto replied: “Yes, we have discussed it and not everything is written in the stars; we are looking at what is happening and what is happening with the other tires. We have taken all the considerations, we We discussed what was best and that’s the choice we made. It was definitely not the right one today.

READ MORE: How shrewd reconnaissance laps, sublime strategy and racing spirit paved the way for Verstappen’s unlikely victory in Hungary

Although tires were the main talking point surrounding Ferrari after the race, Binotto – who was aiming for a Ferrari double heading into the weekend and whose team was fastest by a clear margin in Friday’s sessions – said the main headache for him was why the F1 -75 hadn’t worked as well as the team had predicted on Sunday – with Sainz also suffering despite not running flat out at no time in the race.

“I think it’s important to say that the pace of the car today was not as expected, [considering] the speed we had when we think back to Friday and Friday’s race simulations,” Binotto said. “It was totally different, cooler conditions, but overall the speed wasn’t fast enough today regardless of the tires we were using.


Leclerc felt this was when he lost the Hungarian Grand Prix – but Binotto disagreed

“Something [was] wrong with the car, how we set it up for today’s conditions, it also made life harder for the tyres, and certainly as a result, the hard was working very badly.

When asked if he thought Ferrari could have won in Hungary, Binotto replied: “I don’t think so. As I said before, we lacked pace and I don’t think we would have won today. Because it’s the first time in these races that we didn’t have the speed to be there for the win.

READ MORE: Verstappen claws back from 10th to win Hungarian GP as Mercedes clinch double podium

“We have to look at that first, in terms of performance, to understand. I’m pretty sure once we figure that out, we understand why the car wasn’t running properly.

Ferrari are now 97 points behind Red Bull with nine races remaining in 2022 – Leclerc 80 points behind championship leader Max Verstappen.

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