In Canada, Scuderia Ferrari’s strategy proved to be perfect. However, just after the Safety Car came out, Charles Leclerc was called to the pit stop by engineer Xavi Marcos through team radio. It was the Monegasque driver himself who opposed the decision and asked to avoid the stop, and the pit wall promptly listened to him.
It is the twelfth lap of the Canadian Grand Prix. George Russell approaches the curbs in turn 9 too aggressively and loses control of his Mercedes, crashing it into the nearby wall. Debris on the track. The Safety Car is inevitable. In this chaotic moment, the teams and drivers are called to make decisions. Many opt for a “free” pit stop, while only a few remain on track. This includes Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
In hindsight, the strategy proves to be optimal for both drivers. Initially, it seems that Ferrari’s intention was to diversify their strategies. Charles Leclerc (P8) would have come in, while Carlos Sainz (P10) was supposed to stay on track.
Charles Leclerc “refuses” the pit stop under the Safety Car: team radio
This can be deduced from the team radio conversations of both drivers. Let’s first review the communications of the Monegasque driver.
As the Safety Car exits the 4.361-kilometre Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, the two Ferrari cars are at turn 10. Xavi Marcos informs car #16: “Box this lap, box this lap.”
Charles Leclerc’s response is decisive. The driver implies that he wants to play his cards on track: “I don’t want to come in. I’m fighting for…” Charles tries to explain.
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At this point, the Ferrari track engineer promptly intervenes, accommodating the wishes of #16, exclaiming: “Let’s do the opposite of Norris” (Norris was seventh at that moment, ahead of Charles).
Carlos Sainz’s team radio
Listening to Carlos Sainz, we understand the original nature of Ferrari’s strategy in this situation. Riccardo Adami, the Spaniard’s track engineer, communicates: “If the tires are okay, we stay out.”
Carlos Sainz asks for information about his Maranello teammate’s tactics: “Are we doing the opposite? What is Charles doing?”
The engineer initially responds: “Charles is about to come into the pits,” but then, observing the decision of car #16’s crew, he corrects himself: “Charles is doing the opposite of Norris.”
After a few corners in the following lap, the two Ferrari drivers find themselves in fourth and fifth positions in the Canadian Grand Prix, which they will maintain until the checkered flag.