Charles Leclerc has revealed how Ferrari dummied Formula 1 rival Sergio Perez into making a second pit-stop, which secured the Monegasque P2 in the Drivers' standings in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Leclerc and Perez were locked level on points going into the final race, with whoever finished ahead set to take the runners-up spot in the championship behind runaway champion Max Verstappen. After the first round of pit-stops, Perez was holding second on the road as both teams were trying to decide whether a one or two-stop strategy would be best. On Lap 34 came the crucial moment when Leclerc was told to "box, opposite Perez".
Leclerc's Ferrari strategy gamble
In response, Perez pitted to cover Leclerc off, who did not come in and instead committed to the one-stopper. This dropped Perez down to P6 and about 20 seconds behind the Ferrari with 24 laps to make up the time. Perez was hobbled by traffic – including Lewis Hamilton – on his comeback, and fell just 1.3 seconds short of his target as Leclerc secured runner-up by three points over the Mexican. Speaking to Sky Sports F1 post-race, Leclerc revealed the trickery that helped him. "I can say it now but we dummied him and made him think we were going to pit," explained the Monegasque. "He took it and went for the second stop, so we did everything perfect and I am very proud of our execution. "It's been a very difficult season for the whole team. We started extremely well then we've had loads of problems with the reliability, strategy and tyre management obviously later on in the season. "That wasn't easy to manage knowing that the potential was in the car to do very well, and so to finish on a high at least is good. "Now we need to focus on finding a next step for the race pace because Red Bull seem to have something that we don't have for now. "But it's encouraging to see such a good performance in terms of execution of the races."