“I think it would have been a good battle with Charles in the final part of the race, even if we will never know.” Max Verstappen at the press conference after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix acknowledged that the 13 second advantage in favor of Charles Leclerc after the pit stop was an important gap, but that the race pace of the RB18 in Baku would have allowed him to reduce the gap and catch the Ferrari F1-75 #16 in the final laps of the race, which would have meant another great battle between the two drivers.
However, Ferrari sporting and strategy director Iñaki Rueda does not agree with this idea: “According to our simulations Charles Leclerc would have easily won the race with the one-stop strategy even if it was made so early in the race.” – Christian Horner, team principal of Red Bull, had judged Ferrari’s strategy to be very aggressive, as the Maranello team decided to pit the Monegasque driver in Baku after just ten laps taking advantage of the Virtual Safety Car which was deplayed by the retirement of Carlos Sainz‘s F1-75 car: “We did well to take advantage of that neutralization, gaining ten seconds by making the pit stop under the VSC regime,” added Inaki Rueda.
Carlos Sainz had a strategy different from the leading trio: “With Carlos Sainz we decided from the beginning to opt for a strategy opposite to that of our opponents. So in the first few laps Carlos was a few seconds behind simply because he was saving the tires as much as possible to lengthen the first stint on medium tires as much as possible. Just when he had started to push a little harder to catch up, he suffered the hydraulic failure on lap eight” – explained Inaki Rueda.
The Scuderia Ferrari sporting and strategy director does not give up despite the poor result in the 2022 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix: “We try to concentrate on the positive sides. We managed once again to take pole position on a very special circuit and the car was fast even in the race, with Charles who was able to defend himself against Red Bull even when the latter was able to take advantage of the DRS. The unloaded rear wing worked” – Inaki Rueda concluded.
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