Charles Leclerc’s “impetuousness” in the Monaco Grand Prix was understandable given Ferrari’s strategic error on Saturday, according to Ross Brawn.
Ferrari underestimated the lap time Leclerc would need to safely advance from Q1 and failed to send the Monegasque driver back out on track late in the session, a mistake that led to him being eliminated in 16th place. Attempting to fight through the field, Leclerc passed Lando Norris and Romain Grosjean on track early on in the race, but an attempt on Nico Hulkenberg failed as he picked up a puncture that would cause race-ending bodywork damage.
“For a handful of laps, he (Leclerc) was truly spectacular,” Brawn, F1’s managing director of motorsports, said. “Then Charles went too far and paid a high price for his impetuousness. His reaction was understandable, however. It’s his home race and his first attempt at it with a front-running team. It was supposed to be a special moment but it ended only in disappointment.
“After some problems on Thursday, Saturday morning’s final practice session offered a ray of light when he topped the time sheet. But then came the slap in the face of that Q1 strategic error — which team boss Mattia Binotto fully admitted was a team miscalculation — and he dropped all the way down to 16th, a starting position that led to him overdoing it on Sunday.”
While Leclerc retired, Sebastian Vettel’s second place marked the first time Mercedes had failed to finish one-two this season, However, Brawn says that does not mask Ferrari’s overall competitiveness as Max Verstappen had originally challenged Lewis Hamilton for victory before a time penalty relegated him to fourth.
“It was a difficult weekend for Ferrari, although it ended with their best result of the year. However, Vettel’s second place came at the end of a race in which he didn’t play a key role, sitting behind Verstappen throughout but unable to really worry the Dutchman.
“It reflected a weekend during which the Scuderia was the third-strongest team. That was predictable given what we saw in Barcelona, where the car struggled, especially in the third sector of that track. The season seems to be getting away from the Maranello team, but it’s not the time to give up and it must learn from its mistakes if it wants to move forward.”