Ferrari’s pit wall strategy didn’t pay off for Charles Leclerc, who, in the final stages of the Austin race, was “invited” by the team to let Carlos Sainz pass. Charles’s initial reaction was not very understanding, but he changed his tune in the post-race comments.
Despite the pole position that had the Ferrari fans dreaming, the race expectations favored Verstappen and other cars. However, it was clear from the start of the race that things wouldn’t go as planned for the Scuderia. Already in turn 1, the red car was no longer leading.
In addition to the lack of pace compared to the strongest competitors, the strategy was not particularly successful. The Monegasque struggled in the closing laps, even losing positions, including one to Sergio Perez.
Finishing the race in P6, Charles Leclerc had been in fourth place until lap 50. It was precisely at this point that the Ferrari pit wall requested that the Monegasque driver yield his position to his teammate Carlos Sainz.
The exchange, which took place on the straight just before turn 12, did not sit well with the 1997-born driver. Charles Leclerc responded on the team radio, saying, “Why did I have to let Sainz pass? We’ll talk about it after the race!” He exclaimed in a frustrated manner.
However, after the race, Charles Leclerc thought more rationally and, after being informed by the team, he showed understanding regarding the incident, stating, “I didn’t understand the reason at the time. They explained to me that Perez was coming, there wasn’t much to do, and I understand it was necessary to protect Carlos. So, I’m not angry about that; I’m more disappointed with the strategy.”