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F1 | Ferrari explains Sainz's strategy and that polemic second pit stop

Ferrari's strategy director, Iñaki Rueda, has explained the reasons of Carlos Sainz's second pit stop when he was fighting for P3 against Perez's Red Bull and Russell's Mercedes.

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F1 | Ferrari explains Sainz's strategy and that polemic second pit stop
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic - MotorLat

The French Grand Prix seemed to be a red weekend as the laps passed. In the qualifying session, the Monegasque driver and contender for the drivers' title, Charles Leclerc, achieved one more pole position to his record, while Carlos Sainz had a penalty that would force him to start the French Grand Prix from the bottom of the starting grid. In the race, everything was perfect for the Italian team. For his part, Carlos Sainz was already climbing quite a few positions, while Leclerc managed to stay on top and did not allow Max Verstappen to get into first position. The Monegasque driver was gradually moving away from the Dutchman and leader of the drivers' championship, when on lap 18, Leclerc lost control of his car and crashed into the circuit's barriers, causing the Ferrari driver to retire from the race. Carlos Sainz managed to climb an incredible number of positions and took advantage of the power of his F1-75 on the straights and its good aerodynamic package for the fast corners that the Paul Ricard Circuit has.

As for strategy, the driver from Madrid looked like he was going to make only one stop for the 53 laps of the French Grand Prix. Sainz started the race on a fresh set of hard tyres, and on lap 18, during the Safety Car caused by his teammate, he pitted to switch to medium tyres. Sainz had a very good pace, so much so that he was fighting for third place with both Mercedes and Sergio Perez's Red Bull, from whom he did manage to steal the position. However, during this battle, Ferrari decided to call Sainz into the pits on lap 42 to fit a fresh set of medium tyres. For many, this was a wrong decision by the Maranello team, however Iñaki Rueda, who serves as Ferrari's sporting and strategy director, has shared the team's reasoning for making this decision.

“We are back from France, a race from which we expected to come away with a very strong result, but unfortunately we come back with a DNF and a P5, and a bit of controversy mixed in the middle.” Rueda expressed as a summary of the last French Grand Prix held last weekend.

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Regarding the strategy with Carlos Sainz, we already know the preamble to the event, this was what Ferrari's director of strategy commented. “After the Safety Car, we were the only car on medium tyres, while all of our competitors were on hard tyres. That meant we have an edge on them, we would have an edge on them for the first 20 laps, where the medium was the strongest tyre. It also meant we would struggle to go to the end on that medium tyre, and furthermore the hard runners would be faster than us towards the end of the stint.” Iñaki Rueda affirmed.

“The life expectancy of the tyre is around 25 laps, and that stint after the SC called for a 35 laps stint, so we would have been 10 laps short. In these cases, when a driver goes past the life expectancy of the tyre, he has to nurse that tyre and driver very slowly. Otherwise, he potentially risks having a tyre failure.”

If we remember, the FIA ​​awarded a 5-second penalty to Carlos Sainz because the team gave the driver from Madrid the green light to leave his box when he made his first pit stop but almost collided with another car, being this is an unsafe release. This was what Iñaki commented, according to Carlos' strategy already with the penalty. “This actually changed our whole approach to that last stint. Because even though Carlos had managed to overtake Russell and Perez, he would have never been able to open a 5-second gap on them having to nurse those medium tyres to the end.”

“With this in mind, we decided to pit Carlos and make sure he came back and got an extra point for the fastest lap.”

These were some of the reasons why Ferrari decided to pit Carlos Sainz despite the fact that he was already fighting against George Russell's Mercedes and Sergio Perez's Red Bull. This week sees the Hungarian Grand Prix take place and it is key that Ferrari have a strong result as the championship looks to be more difficult to achieve.

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