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Leclerc radio confusion highlights Ferrari strategy mess

Ferrari ignored Leclerc's tactical plea in the closing stages of the race, again raising questions regarding the strategic choices of the Scuderia.

Ferrari's strategic struggles were made apparent yet again by confusion over team radio at the Spanish Grand Prix. The race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a tactically-driven event, given high tyre degradation pushing towards a two-stop strategy in comparison to the now traditional one-stop races seen in the opening six races of the campaign. Charles Leclerc started from the pit lane after changes were made to his Ferrari following a woeful qualifying, where the Monégasque could only muster 19th. Starting on the Hard compound tyres, Leclerc was unable to cut through the field in the style we have become accustomed to with top-four teams in F1, leading to an early stop. But it was a switch from Softs to Hards later in the race that created a head-scratching scenario, with Leclerc's Race Engineer Xavier Marcos Padros seemingly ignoring his driver's call for another set of Softs.

Radio miscommunication

"We'll box this lap for Hards," said Padros, with 23 laps remaining. Leclerc replied "No, no guys, let's go for the Softs," a call that was met with a "copy that" from his engineer. After a moment's silence, Leclerc asked "box anyway", with Ferrari ignoring his previous plea. Padros added: "Yes, box, now box. We are putting on the Hard." The exchange does nothing to help Ferrari's image when it comes to strategic blunders, following a tumultuous year last season when battling for the championship. Leclerc would wind up 12th on the road at the end of the race, only to be promoted to 11th by a penalty for AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda.

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