Ferrari lost the victory due to lack of pace and the podium due to the poor strategy calls. The verdicts of the Hungarian Grand Prix are unexpectedly and categorically negative for the Maranello team, which set off for Budapest with only one goal: to finish with a one-two before the summer break. The 2022 season has already offered some surprise verdicts, and the one in Budapest adds to a substantial list. The Italian side lost the race win and the podium on a circuit that seemed to be the natural habitat for F1-75, and this also took the team by surprise, with Ferrari currently unable to provide an explanation for what was seen on the track.
“For the first time this season we did not have the necessary pace to aim for victory – confirmed Mattia Binotto – and at the moment we don’t know why. It is not just a matter of track temperature, we have had other races in conditions similar to those we raced today, and we did well. For sure there was something that didn’t work in the car, I mean the way we prepared it, and the consequence is that we couldn’t get the tires to work well”.
Carlos Sainz’s race, which was completed with a strategy very similar to Lewis Hamilton’s, demonstrates that Ferrari’s pace was not what we saw in the race simulations on Friday, and confirms that something on the front of the setup was changed before qualifying and did not work. However, what happened to Charles Leclerc is different. The Monegasque, leading the race on lap 37 with a 5 second lead over Russell, 6.2 over Sainz and 7.2 over Verstappen, was lapping at a good pace (consistently in one minute and twenty-three seconds). But Max’s pit stop on lap 38 triggered a reaction that led the Monegasque to lose the podium.
The Maranello team’s garage feared the Dutchman’s undercut, and decided to respond by calling Charles back to the pits. However, there was a substantial difference between the two strategies, since while Max was able to mount the second medium set (having started with the soft) Charles Leclerc found himself forced to use a hard set, having already used the two sets of ‘yellow’and it was impossible to think of completing the 32 missing laps with a set of softs. Back on track, Charles struggled a lot to get the hard tyres into the operating window due to the cold temperature, and Verstappen had no particular problems in passing the Ferrari number 16 twice (the second time after a spin) taking advantage of the much faster pace.
If Ferrari’s pit wall ‘had not focused on Verstappen, who realistically was within reach for Charles Leclerc at that stage, especially after the Monegasque lost a lot of time behind Carlos Sainz and George Russell in the first stint, the Maranello team could have lengthened Charles’ stint (as they did with Carlos Sainz) and mounted a set of soft for the last twenty laps, a strategy that worked for Hamilton. Would a final fast sting have been possible to worry Verstappen? Maybe not, but surely Charles Leclerc would have made it to the podium. The choice of the hard compound, carefully avoided by Red Bull and Mercedes, left everyone perplexed, given that ahead of the race in the paddock it was one of the few fixed points in most of the teams, being considered a second slower than the mediums and with a difficult warm-up evaluated at about a loss of 4 seconds in the first two laps.
Show your support for Scuderia Ferrari with official merchandise collection from Puma! Enter the online Puma Store and shop securely! And get your F1 tickets for every race with VIP hospitality and unparalleled insider access. Click here for the best offers to support Charles and Carlos from the track!
In the end, under the checkered flag, an unpredictable scenario took shape, which rejected Ferrari in one of the weekends in which (on paper) the Maranello team’s F1-75 car should have been very strong given the track characteristics of Hungaroring. The Hungarian verdict does not leave any hope for Charles Leclerc’s world championship ambitions (if Verstappen extended his holidays until the beginning of October he would arrive in Singapore, anyway, as leader of the standings) and highlights sectors in which the Scuderia still has work to do.
“We will come back trying to win every race – said Mattia Binotto – and the championship is a consequence. There is also the Constructors one, which should not be forgotten and which is not necessarily out of our reach. But first we need to understand what happened today, out of 13 races run this season it is the first time that we have not had the pace in the race, and this obviously brings bitterness. There was no reason not to do well in Hungary, so we’re disappointed, but it’s the first misstep after 12 races and I don’t think there’s anything to change, in the pit wall. We need to understand and correct, we have a strong base and we will further improve”.
It is true that every misstep is an opportunity to grow, but it is also true that the Ferrari team is no longer first-rate. The team was young in 2019, in 2020, but not anymore. You always learn from mistakes, but there also comes a time when mistakes come with a price to pay, especially when you are confronted with those who make very few mistakes. And if nothing else, it is a pity that a successful project like the F1-75 can no longer have its say in the title battle even before the summer break. Everything looks a lot like a lost chance.
Leave a Reply