Former Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg believes Scuderia Ferrari may have made a mistake by calling Charles Leclerc into the pits for a front wing change after his crash in the final stages of the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
Charles Leclerc was running behind the duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez for most of the race, when Ferrari made one last attempt at overtaking Sergio Perez by changing Charles’ tyres with a brand new set of softs for the final stint at the Emilia Romagna GP. Max Verstappen led comfortably, while Charles Leclerc was closing in on Sergio Perez as he tried to take P2 and prevent a one-two finish in Italy.
That plan went up in smoke though when the Monegasque took far too much kerb and went into a spin, his F1-75 car slightly touching the wall. He was able to resume the race but Ferrari boxed him to change his front wing, which had picked up some damage.
In the last few laps if the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc had to fight his way back and finished sixth, saving a few points which could prove important at the end of the year. However, Nico Rosberg thinks that the Maranello team should have waited one lap to evaluate how that F1-75 front wing damage was affecting Charles Leclerc’s performance:
“I think Ferrari also made a mistake,” Nico Rosberg said for Sky Sports F1 – “They should have left him out for one more lap to see how that front wing is hanging on there, because it looked fine structurally, it was just the right-hand side flap that was missing. So that could have been okay to still finish at least fourth in the race, so I think Ferrari did a small mistake there.” – he added.
There could be no debate though surrounding the negative impact which this Imola weekend had on Ferrari’s prospects for the 2022 Formula One championship.
Scoring maximum points across the sprint format, Max Verstappen recovered a lot of ground and is now P2 in the Drivers’ standings, just 27 points behind the Ferrari driver, while Red Bull have slashed their deficit to the Italian side at the top of the Constructors’ to 11 points.
In order for Charles Leclerc to keep his lead in the standings and eventually go on to win the F1 title for Ferrari, Nico Rosberg pointed out that mistakes like that one at Imola should not be repeated:
“Charles Leclerc oh my God, I mean if you are fighting for a championship against Max Verstappen, you just cannot allow yourself to spin out there when you are just driving on your own,” he said – “Yes he was hunting down Perez, but the pressure was on Perez not on Charles, so to spin like that, my goodness, he has to avoid that for the rest of the season if he wants to win this championship.”
Things didn’t go better for Carlos Sainz either, as the Spanish driver had to retire on lap 1 due to an incident with Daniel Ricciardo.
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Nico Rosberg admitted that some bad luck was involved in the outcome of the incident, but said that Carlos Sainz has to avoid such moments by qualifying closer to the top:
“Definitely very unlucky from Carlos, but it’s also a little bit his fault that he was all the way back in fourth place,” Nico Rosberg stated – “He could have been a little bit higher up if his whole weekend had have come together well, so he also has a role in that.”
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