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Rosberg: Ferrari can only blame themselves and must avoid repeat

Ferrari picked up just eight points on race day in Imola as rivals Red Bull added a maximum 44 to their tally on a nightmare afternoon for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Nico Rosberg says Charles Leclerc cannot afford a repeat of his Imola mistake if he has aspirations of winning the World Championship this season. The Ferrari driver was closing the gap between himself and second-place man Sergio Perez when he lost control of his car and made contact with the wall, damaging his front wing. As a result, Ferrari made the call to pit Leclerc for repairs, dropping him down the order. He would go on to finish sixth. Meanwhile, World Championship rival Max Verstappen completed the perfect weekend as he took pole position, a Sprint victory, the race win and the bonus points for fastest lap.

Leclerc cannot afford mistakes like that

Leclerc has since vowed that there will be no repeat of his late-race error and claims that the pressure of driving for Ferrari on home soil had no impact. The crash allowed Verstappen to cut even more points from the gap between the two drivers in the World Championship standings. "If you're fighting for a championship against Max Verstappen, you just cannot allow yourself to spin out there when you're just driving on your own," said Rosberg, speaking the Sky Sports F1 . "I mean, yes, he was hunting down Perez, but the pressure was on Perez, not on Charles, so to spin like that, my goodness, he has to avoid that for the rest of the season if he wants to win the championship."

Ferrari acted too fast in pitting Leclerc

Rosberg has also questioned Ferrari's decision to pit Leclerc for a new front wing, with the driver having told his race engineer that his car felt "okay", despite some obvious damage. Leclerc's crash came just two corners prior to the pit entry, with his team acting quickly to call him in for repairs. "I think Ferrari also did a mistake," added Rosberg. "They should have left him out for one more lap to see how that front wing was hanging on there, because it looked fine, structurally. "It was just the right-hand-side flap that was missing, so that could have been okay to still finish at least fourth in the race. I think Ferrari did a small mistake there."

Sainz partly to blame for his Sunday retirement

Leclerc's teammate, Carlos Sainz, also suffered yet more agony in Imola when he was forced to retire his car following a Lap 1 crash with Daniel Ricciardo. Ricciardo took a trip to the Ferrari motorhome on Sunday afternoon to accept blame and apologise to Sainz for the incident. But Sainz - having crashed out of qualifying - cannot pin all the blame for his poor result on the McLaren driver, according to Rosberg. "[It was] very unlucky from Carlos, but it's also a little bit his fault that he was all the way back in fourth place," he said. "He could have been a little bit higher up if his whole weekend would have come together well, so he also has a role in that."

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