Sadly, Ferrari had another disaster in Budapest on Sunday. And it looks like the team’s strategy is to blame for it. The Scuderia’s championship contender Charles Leclerc was left stranded in the midfield after Ferrari decided to switch his car on hard tyres, resulting in a P6. As a result, the Monegasque now trails the championship leader Max Verstappen by a whopping 80 points after the 13th race of the season. Verstappen went on to win the race for Red Bull while Mercedes secured their second double podium with Lewis Hamilton & George Russell finishing P2 and P3.
Further, Carlos Sainz finished P4 behind the Mercedes driver. Russell started at pole position when the two Ferraris showed some good pace to chase the Briton who started his stint on soft tyres. The battle went on for a while before Ferrari decided to switch Leclerc on hard tyres. This happened despite both Alpine drivers struggling to find the grip and pace on the hards. Hence, Charles was helpless even when he tried to defend against Verstappen and Russell, who passed him easily. In response, Ferrari called Leclerc for a third pit stop for the soft tyres during the final few laps. However, the Monegasque was stranded at P6 until the end of the race.
Talking about Ferrari’s mistakes after the race, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff revealed that Ferrari had no option as they had only hard and soft compounds left. During the race, switching to softs was too early, so the Scuderia had to rely on the hards. Wolff added, “I think the mistake happened Friday or Saturday, not to carry over a new medium.”
Ferrari’s Faults Allowed Mercedes To Finish On Top Again
Ferrari’s errors allowed the two Mercedes to take charge of the race. The Silver Arrows clinched their second consecutive double podium for 2022. Lewis Hamilton also recorded the fastest lap of the race. The seven-time world champ felt he would have been challenged for a victory if his DRS did not falter during the qualifying. As a result, the Briton had to start at P7 and finished just below eight seconds behind Max Verstappen in second place.
Moreover, Wolff commended Geroge’s performance for securing the team’s first pole and driving solidly in the race. Toto shared that the younger Briton was always in the race and had to rely on the utilization of tyres. Eventually, he ran out of tyres towards the end of the race, allowing Lewis Hamilton to get ahead.
Wolff was surprised as to where Lewis had come from was unbelievable. The seven-time world champ was in the shadow, and nobody really realized where he came from. The Mercedes boss added that Lewis was suddenly doing lap times faster than the leaders. Wolff concluded, “And I think in qualifying, if we wouldn’t have failed the DRS yesterday, we would have had a fight at the front for the victory.”