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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc questions Ferrari strategy call: I don't know why we did it

Charles Leclerc was unable to explain Ferrari's decision to switch him to the Hard tyres for his second pit-stop in Hungary, and believed it was the reason he fell away from the lead.

Charles Leclerc
To news overview © XPBimages

Charles Leclerc was at a loss to explain Ferrari's decision to switch to the Hard tyres for the final stint of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Starting third, the Ferrari driver managed to clear teammate Carlos Sainz during the opening pit-stops, before passing Mercedes' George Russell for the lead of the race.

Leclerc increased his lead over Russell, but a resurgent Max Verstappen pitted first during the second round of stops, encouraging Ferrari to respond.

They opted to pit Leclerc for Hard tyres but, owing to difficulties in warming them up, he fell behind Verstappen and Russell, who were equipped with Mediums.

Ferrari eventually admitted defeat and switched Leclerc onto Soft tyres, but this resulted in the Monegasque driver finishing in sixth.

Speaking after the race, Leclerc was asked if he was able to explain Ferrari's strategy decision.

"I don't know yet. We need to speak with the team and understand the thoughts behind putting on the Hard tyres, because I felt very strong on the Mediums," Leclerc told Sky Sports F1.

"Everything was under control, and I don't know why we needed to go on the Hard tyres.

"I said on the radio that I was very comfortable with the Medium tyres and that I wanted to go as long as possible with those tyres, because the feeling was good, but I don't know why we took a different decision."

Leclerc predicts the time lost on Hard tyres

Prior to the final round of pit-stops, Leclerc had been gradually increasing his lead at the front of the field.

He had around a five-second advantage before Ferrari's reactive pit-stop, but finished the race 16 seconds off the lead.

Leclerc said he had been happy with Ferrari's pace up to that point and believed their deficit all came from the switch to Hard tyres.

"Honestly, I was pretty happy with the pace," added Leclerc.

"The only thing is that obviously everybody will remember the last part of the race where it was a disaster for me, especially on the Hard tyre – that's where I lost the race, basically.

"I lost 20 seconds with the pit-stop, maybe another six seconds in five laps on the Hard tyres, because I was just all over the place with this tyre.

"We'll speak about this inside the team to get better."

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