Charles Leclerc ‘needs to’ help Ferrari improve race strategy

Charles Leclerc said he needed to improve his contribution to Ferrari’s race strategy after finishing a disappointed fourth from pole position in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix. His Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel came home second behind triumphant Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes with Valtteri Bottas third in the second Silver Arrow.

Leclerc admitted that he and his team had not fulfilled their potential in Sunday’s race.

“I think I need to do some more work in the race, especially on the strategy as it has not been that good.

“I need to come on the radio more and to help the team make the right decisions – like Seb did.

“The second stint was not particularly great for me and I didn’t feel good on the medium compound. I don’t know why. The first set of mediums felt better.

“We did our first stop earlier than we might have done to cover against (Alex) Albon and then we knew it would be a two-stop early on. But then everyone else did a one-stop.” Vettel urged Ferrari to leave him out for a longer opening stint and to stick with a one-stop strategy when Hamilton made an early stop.

“It was a long race with no break and the hard tyres worked really well,” he said.

“I think Lewis was just cruising for most of the second stint. I am happy, because it was a good race, but with our strategy… we could have been a bit sharper.” Team chief Mattia Binotto said he felt that Ferrari had made the right decisions during the race but that hindsight gave a different perspective.

“They did the right choice. It is difficult for us to defend and the tyres were overheating when cars are following and trying to attack.”

Asked about Leclerc’s early stop, he conceded: “It was too early and, looking at our data from yesterday, we didn’t consider the one stop. Looking now, I think that wasn’t the right choice.” He added that, compared to the Hungarian Grand Prix where down-force is critical, he felt that the result showed “we have closed the gap quite a lot”.

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