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Ferrari defend strategy choices after Leclerc left 'disappointed'

Charles Leclerc was left frustrated after missing out on a podium and potential victory at the British Grand Prix, having not been pitted during a late Safety Car period. Ferrari's Mattia Binotto can sympathise with the Monegasque, but stands by the team's decisions.

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto thinks that Ferrari made the right decisions during the British Grand Prix, despite Charles Leclerc losing out during a late-race Safety Car. The Monegasque had been leading the event when the Safety Car was called due to Esteban Ocon stopping his Alpine on track. During this period, Leclerc's teammate Carlos Sainz made a pit-stop, as did the other cars running in the top four. Leclerc, however, was not pitted, and found himself vulnerable to Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton at the race restart. Both overtook him, while Sainz claimed his debut F1 victory, leaving Leclerc down in fourth.

Why did Ferrari only pit Sainz?

Binotto has explained that Ferrari were concerned that they would have lost too much time by double-stacking their cars in the pits, meaning that they decided to only bring Sainz in. "Here what happened is our two cars – in our view, certainly – were too close to stop both of them, so we had to take a decision," Binotto told media, including RacingNews365.com . “We were the only ones out there having the two cars fighting for the good positions. The other teams got only one car, so certainly the decisions are a lot easier. "In our case, we got the two cars and we saw that there was not sufficient gap to stop both of them, because the second would have lost time at the pit-stop and would have fallen back on track." The team had chosen Sainz as the driver to pit as they had hoped that the Soft tyres would suffer more degradation, giving Leclerc more of an opportunity in the last laps. "Because his tyres were fresher compared to the ones of Carlos – he had, I think, six or seven laps less than the ones of Carlos in a better shape," Binotto continued. "And Carlos, by stopping in second, he would have been protecting us in the first couple of corners where we know that restarting on the Hards would have been even more difficult. So that was the reason why we decided. "Then we were hoping for more tyre degradation on the Softs to give Charles, yes, maybe a difficult three or four laps initially, but then recovering later on, but the Softs didn’t degrade as we were hoping."

Binotto understands Leclerc's frustration

Following the race, cameras caught Binotto talking to Leclerc, and Leclerc has since claimed that the team boss had simply wanted to cheer him up. Binotto has now given his take on the conversation, and admits that he can understand why Leclerc was disappointed. "I knew that he was disappointed and frustrated which is understandable, because he was leading the race and he was comfortable," Binotto said. "[He was] going very fast at the time when the Safety Car came out, and for him today was a great opportunity in terms of the championship, because he was leading while Max [Verstappen] had some problems. "Then the Safety Car came out and he had a difficult end of the race, and no doubt that he was disappointed. So when I met him, I knew he was disappointed. "But what I told him is he did a fantastic race once again, because he did a fantastic first lap of the race, battling, and then after the start of the Safety Car again, the way he was driving and protecting position is amazing and outstanding. "So I told him simply to stay calm, because the way he drove was fantastic. He has been once again unlucky today."

Ferrari stand by decisions

Despite Leclerc's frustration, Binotto feels that Ferrari made the right calls in the race. "I think that the decisions we took were the right ones and the proper ones at each single time," he stated. Binotto acknowledges that the only one they could question is whether they should have pitted Leclerc under the Safety Car, but he is not convinced that this would have helped the driver to gain positions. "Would he have recovered the position? [I'm] not sure," Binotto said. "So I think that obviously, with hindsight, it's always easy to say that we could have done [things] differently. "I think, yes, we had once again a Safety Car at the wrong moment, [when we were] comfortably leading the race at this point."