Ferrari can’t understand why Leclerc was so slow

Circuit of the Americas, Texas

United States Grand Prix – Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto says that the team are at a loss to explain why Charles Leclerc was so slow during the race.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished a distant fourth in the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. So distant was he, that he was fifty seconds behind at the chequered flag. Considering that there were no extraneous circumstances to explain that beyond him using a older Spec 2 engine after his problems on Saturday, it was a very disappointing showing from the team that have looked the quickest on track most of the time since the summer break.

“It was a really tough race, especially during the first stint where the front tyres did not feel right.” said a bewildered Leclerc afterwards. “It was difficult to find the grip and we have to look into how exactly that happened. The other two stints were a bit better, but not good enough. Our competitors were just too quick, so it was a rather lonely race for me today. It’s a shame for the team that we didn’t finish the race with both cars.”

Sebastian Vettel, who started from the front row in P2, fell down to seventh place on the opening lap as he struggled for any sort of grip. He retired on Lap 7 when his suspension failed over a bump at Turn 9.

Team boss Mattia Binotto spoke afterwards and said that the team were at a loss to explain why Leclerc struggled so much on the first set of Medium tyres: “Charles’ race was compromised by his first set of tyres, on which he had no grip at all. We could not understand why he was so slow and off the pace. In the second and third stint he had good pace, but it’s difficult to compare it to that of the others, as everyone was in a different tyre situation at that point.”

“In the final stint, he then found the car much more to his liking on soft tyres and set the fastest lap.”

“We now have a lot to analyse and to understand. We are deeply disappointed as we don’t believe this result mirrors our current performance level. There’s something to learn from any bad result and this is what we plan to do now.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who was the only potential challenger to the dominant Mercedes drivers up front, said that he wasn’t surprised by Ferrari’s lack of speed, as he feels the team have been cheating…

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Thomas Maher

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