Ferrari have explained why they had to adopt a different approach to what was set to be a "peculiar" weekend for Charles Leclerc at the Canadian Grand Prix. The team had known in advance that Leclerc would take engine penalties at the event, which resulted in him starting the race from P19 on the grid. As such, the Scuderia's Sporting Director and Head of Race Strategy, Inaki Rueda, has detailed in a race debrief video how the squad changed their preparations in line with this.
A "peculiar" weekend for Leclerc
"With Charles, we had a peculiar weekend, because we came in knowing that we would have to start from the back of the grid," Rueda said. "Knowing this, we arranged his whole weekend differently. His tyre allocation for Friday was different, his qualifying tyre was different. Even his race starting tyre was different." Rueda has given a further insight into the strategy that the team planned for Leclerc in order to optimise his race. "Starting P19, Charles' objective was to overtake as many cars in the first stint, and then do what we call an offset strategy," he explained. "An offset strategy is one in which we put a Hard tyre [on] for a very long stint at the start, and then we put [on], for a very short stint at the end, a Medium or Soft tyre. "Charles managed to do a very good stint, and from P19 on the grid, he found himself running P6 early on in the race."
Leclerc's struggles behind Ocon
Unfortunately for Leclerc, his run through the field was often disrupted by encountering traffic, and he spent several laps struggling to get past the Alpine of Esteban Ocon. However, Rueda feels that the Monegasque did the best that he could in the situation. "When he got to Ocon, he found himself behind a car with much fresher tyres," Rueda added. "Charles tried with all his might, but he could not overtake Ocon. At that point, we were trying to gap a big group of cars in the back, but we saw that Ocon's pace was not good enough to gap them. "But a slow pit-stop made Charles come out behind that whole group. Charles did a good job, and he managed to overtake all those people, to then stay out during the Safety Car and finish P5."