(Motorsport-Total.com) – Charles Leclerc saved Ferrari’s honor again with fifth place in the Gigantic Prix of Emilia-Romagna in Imola . The Monegasse relied on a one-stop strategy and was rewarded for it. “It was difficult, but I think we made the right decision”, summarizes the Monegasse.
Leclerc started the race from a reputation of seven and was able to go straight to the first lap Overtaking Crimson Bull driver Alexander Albon. In sixth place, however, he then struggled to keep up with Pierre Gasly’s pace in the AlphaTauri, there was a small gap in the front midfield.
“I really had problems with the tires after the first Once they got up to temperature, the tempo was actually pretty good – surprisingly good, “admits Leclerc. When Gasly dropped out after just a few laps due to a technical defect , Leclerc moved up to fifth place.
Leclerc transmits: “I wouldn’t do that”
At that point the Ferrari was already three and a half seconds behind Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault. Leclerc was able to keep this distance up to his pit stop on lap 13 more than halve to 1.3 seconds. He switched from soft to hard tires.
When Ricciardo stopped just one lap later, he came back on the track wafer-thin in front of the Ferrari. Up to the Security-Automotive-Half in round 51 they fought each other both in a pair flight through midfield. And because Sergio Perez came to the pits before the two, Ricciardo and Leclerc inherited the ranks three and four.
Ferrari decided not to pit him a second time in the SC-Half. “Yes, we considered it and discussed it with Charles on the team radio. We knew that the re-birth on used hard tires could be tricky,” admits Mattia Binotto.
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“There are still eleven laps to go, right? How many Will we lose positions if we stop? “He asked his race engineer Xavier Marcos. “We would lose five or six positions,” replied Leclerc, whereupon Leclerc decided: “Woah! I wouldn’t do that. It is so difficult to overtake.”
So he decided Ferrari finally to leave Leclerc on the hard tires on the track. “We didn’t lose a reputation on the track as a result. In the end it was Charles’ decision to stay on the track,” added the team boss. “I think it was the right decision.”
Leclerc: “High 3 are unrealistic”
However, after the re-birth in turn 7, Leclerc could no longer defend himself against the significantly faster AlphaTauri from Kwjat. The Russian battled much faster on the soft tires and grabbed fourth place from the Ferrari.
“Daniil battled the fresh softs very quickly right from the start. He showed a good overtaking maneuver , he just drove past on the outside, “comments Leclerc. Although he had to let the AlphaTauri go, he was still able to defend himself against Perez on equally fresh softs and finish fifth.
In the World Championship Leclerc made up important points, he is now ten points behind Ricciardo and fourth. “That is of course my goal. The High 3 are unrealistic and I don’t think that mathematically I still have a probability at all.”
He will try everything to keep the Renault driver still to intercept, even if it should be “very difficult” in the last four races. “It would be great to make even further progress in the championship,” says Binotto.
In the Constructors’ rating Ferrari is still trailing in sixth place, 31 Points behind Racing Point, McLaren and 32 behind Renault. “The fight is very close, but the car has improved so we want to try and our goal is to catch up with the others.”