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F1 | French GP | Leclerc and Sainz on Ferrari’s struggle with tyre degradation at Paul Ricard

Both drivers quite surprised to see the SF21 struggle “massively” to keep a good race pace due to degradation, as Ferrari leaves France without scoring points and drops behind McLaren in the standings.

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F1 | French GP | Leclerc and Sainz on Ferrari’s struggle with tyre degradation at Paul Ricard
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic-Motorlat

A tough race for Ferrari at Paul Ricard, as both cars struggled a lot with tyres and in finding pace. While McLaren’s Lando Norris climbed his way up from 8th to 5th and Daniel Ricciardo finished P6 after starting from P10, Leclerc and Sainz both finished outside the points.

The Monegasque started in P7 and made his way up with an undercut, but he slipped back down rather  quickly as the degradation on his tyres made it impossible for his Ferrari to keep up with the rest of the midfield.

“We really need to understand [what happened], as with both cars we’ve been struggling massively, dropping massively,” he said. “The pace is there the first two laps on the tyres and then everyone keeps going on this pace and both of our cars are starting to drop. That’s where we need to work out at the moment and we really need to understand this issue.”

Later on the team switched his strategy to add a second pit stop, but with no success as Leclerc finished in 16th place.

“We tried a second stop at one point just to see if we could understand something more [by] going on the medium again, but there was no way to do anything better managing those tyres. We were just degrading them very, very quickly.”

Things didn’t go much better for his teammate Carlos Sainz, as he went from P3 in the last free practice session, P5 in qualifying, to ultimately finishing the race just outside the top ten, in P11.

“On Friday we looked okay. But clearly the conditions changed and our car, just the way we treat the tyres, we are not very resilient to condition changes,” he explained. 

“We are on the limit of graining the front tyres always and as soon as we grain them, basically we go backwards.”

He managed to defend his starting position (P5) from Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri for a bit, but then dropped down as well.

“Honestly, the race pace from Lap 1 wasn’t there and we were degrading the tyres massively. It’s something I haven’t experienced before and it’s something that we really need to understand as it’s quite evident that in some of these Sunday conditions, we are not treating the tyres very well and we are going backwards.”

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