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Ferrari set for lengthy analysis as they thrash out 'chess game' plan

Ferrari are looking to understand why their tyres were more susceptible to graining during the Sprint at Imola, allowing Red Bull driver Max Verstappen to pass Charles Leclerc for the win.

Leclerc Imola
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Ferrari engineer Laurent Mekies says the team will learn from their Saturday tyre struggles ahead of an Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that will hinge on "very small details".

Charles Leclerc was on course to take victory in the Sprint at Imola, in front of the loyal Tifosi, when he began to struggle with tyre graining.

Red Bull, meanwhile, found their car to be much kinder to their Soft tyres, allowing Max Verstappen to close the gap and pass with two laps to go.

As a result, World Championship leader Leclerc will start Sunday's race in second, behind his "very strong, very fast" rival.

Ferrari have tyres worries, Red Bull are "very strong"

Mekies admitted that Ferrari are suffering with degradation more than they had hoped at Imola, as they fight to extend their points gap to rivals Red Bull.

"I think the simple truth is that Red Bull is very strong, they are very fast. Not only Max but also Checo (Sergio Perez), you could see his lap time behind," said Mekies, speaking to Sky Sports F1.

"I don't think there is much between our cars this weekend, so it's going to be very much down to small details. One car will be degrading a little bit more; one will use a little bit more compound.

"We were prepared for this sort of scenario. Of course, we are hoping to be able to stick to the lead until the end, but we picked a little bit more degradation than what we had hoped for."

Mekies: Ferrari will learn from what happened

It was the lack of Friday running in dry conditions that left teams, including Ferrari, unsure of exactly how far they could push their cars on the Soft tyres.

Were it under normal race conditions, Leclerc would have pitted for new Pirelli tyres once Verstappen began to close the gap. However, the nature of the shorter, 21-lap Sprint prevented him from doing so.

"It's a different equation tomorrow. We will learn from what happened," Mekies has made clear.

"We obviously all had limited running [in] the dry. I'm sure we have all the evening to analyse the data.

"Every team has pretty much all tyre options available, because we ran so little on Friday, that we can do pretty much all strategies, so it will be a good chess game tomorrow."

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