Leclerc labels last 4 races “worse than a nightmare” after a frustrating F1 British GP

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
Spread the love

Scuderia Ferrari left Silverstone with 11 points after a P5 finish for Carlos Sainz brought 10 points to the team on top of a bonus point for Sainz claiming the fastest lap at Sunday’s F1 British Grand Prix. Meanwhile, on the other side of the garage, Charles Leclerc endured a torrid time on track after suffering the effect of his team making an early call for him to switch onto the intermediate tyre.

The Monegasque’s home win earlier in the season, feels a long time ago now and Leclerc said post-race: “I don’t really have the words to explain it, but it’s been four races that it’s been worse than a nightmare.”

Leclerc had a qualifying to forget after just missing out on Q3 the previous day. Starting from P11 at Sunday’s British Grand Prix, he had it all to do but was no doubt hopeful that the changeable weather conditions would play into his hands.

The Ferrari driver had a strong opening few laps and got as high as P7 in the first part of the race as the first raindrops of the afternoon began to fall. At this point, a decision had to be made between staying out on track or pitting for a different compound.

Whilst a capacity Silverstone crowd marveled at the skill of drivers finding grip on a slippery surface, Ferrari rolled the dice for Leclerc and went for an aggressive strategy pitting the Monegasque driver on lap 19 for intermediates.

Unfortunately, for Leclerc, the Northamptonshire circuit was not damp enough for such a tyre to pay dividends and this was apparent when he came out of pitlane and had track position over Valtteri Bottas but soon found himself overtaken by the yet-to-pit Sauber driver. To add insult to injury, when the rain did increase, Leclerc had to return to pitlane once again as his intermediate tyre had worn away quicker than usual on a largely dry surface to that point.

Leclerc reflected post-race on the strategy calls and what his team need to do going forward.

“It was clearly the wrong one, I’ll look back into it with the decision.” admitted Leclerc. “With the message I got and the information I had in the car, I felt like it was the right one, it was raining quite a lot in [Turn] 15, I was told that in this lap the rain was going to be very heavy, so I stopped to try and anticipate, however the rain came 8 or 9 laps later, so that was obviously the end of our race from that moment onwards, very frustrating, another weekend to forget and it starts to be a lot.”

After continued struggles since his historic Monaco GP victory, Leclerc was then asked as to how hard this period is for him.

“It’s very hard, it’s very hard, I don’t really have the words to explain it, but it’s been four races that it’s been worse than a nightmare, so I hope we can come back soon.”

Ferrari’s talismanic driver has always been a driving force for the team and shown a clear ability to find positives from a performance but in his recent remarks the 26-year-old described his current mindset.

“It’s very difficult to look at positives in days like this, I just want to go back with the team, that we analyse the way we are making those decisions on my side and why were we on the wrong side today.”

It was already rumoured prior to the British Grand Prix race weekend that Ferrari was going to abandon their SF-24 upgrades from Spain and instead revert to the Imola-spec, although Leclerc ran the Barcelona-spec in practice to do a comparison.

With that in mind, Leclerc was then asked how he feels having to take upgrades off a car.

“It’s a tricky situation that we are in at the moment, the upgrade brought us the numbers that we were expecting but also brought us quite a lot of bouncing in the high speed and for a track like this we decided that it was probably better having a bit less performance but having more the consistency and I think that was the right choice. Going forward we will analyse all the data we had until now with the two packages and try to understand if there is anything we didn’t understand yet.”

Finally, on the question as to whether it was better without the new upgrade package, the reply was simple: “The bouncing was, so the consistency was better.”

Hungary is next up on the F1 calendar and is a very different layout to Silverstone. Time will tell as to whether Ferrari use the old package or roll the dice with their most recent upgrades returning.

However, time is also running out because whereas Scuderia Ferrari sit P2 in the Constructors’ standings for now, their closest rival McLaren is an in-form team and just 7 points behind.

Those in the Maranello corridors need to turn things around quickly because figuratively speaking, the Prancing Horse is slowing to a trot and is likely to be overtaken by the Woking-based-manufacturer sooner rather than later. If that happens, Leclerc may find himself in a nightmare that he cannot wake up from anytime soon.