Ferrari brought in Charles Leclerc, at that time the race leader, after lap 39 to react to Max Verstappen’s pit stop. Switching to the hardest tire had disastrous consequences.
“We brought Charles in to maintain his position compared to Max,” said Binotto, who had to watch as Leclerc was then overtaken by Verstappen twice. “We thought it would take a few laps to get the tire up to temperature and that hard tire would be faster after 10 or 11 laps. Don’t forget it’s a stint would be thirty rounds. In hindsight, it was clearly not the right decision.”
It was striking that Verstappen as well as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell (Mercedes) said afterwards that the hardest tire was not an option for them at all, given the low temperatures. Leclerc also did not understand the choice of the Italian racing stable.
Binotto pointed to the speed of the Ferrari, compared to the race simulations on Friday. “The car didn’t work as we thought, it was a lot cooler than Friday. This is the first time this season that we have not been competitive. We lacked speed. I don’t think we could have won. We have to analyze how this is possible. I have no explanation for that at the moment.”