Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur says Charles Leclerc made “a very good call” to pit at the start of the Dutch Grand Prix even though it led to a delayed stop due to the team not having tires ready.
Rain on the opening lap led to some drivers opting to pit immediately for intermediates, while others tried to hang on for a longer spell before ditching their slicks. Leclerc was the second car into the pits but was delayed while Ferrari brought the intermediate tire out, but Vasseur says the confusion was due to how late the driver informed the team he was coming in.
“The first one from Charles looked a bit strange from the outside, but it was a very good call from him,” Vasseur said. “It was a very late call, because he was in the pit lane when he told us, but even if he lost seven or eight seconds in the pit lane it was a good one. If you look at (Pierre) Gasly, he took a step forward with this type of call and it was the right choice to stop on lap one.
“The rain was in the last corner and he decided to pit. It was a very late call, but I think it was still the right decision because we were in a much better position than before even with the six or seven seconds we lost in the pit lane. For sure, if you are 10 seconds behind or five seconds behind and you make the call, it is much easier. But I don’t have to complain about this because it was the right call.”
Leclerc’s race soon turned sour as he dropped through the field, with Vasseur explaining he was unlucky with debris damaging his car.
“He damaged the front wing end plate and the end plate went into the floor and damaged the bottom of the floor.”
Carlos Sainz went on to finish fifth but didn’t have the pace to fight Gasly for the podium, and Vasseur says the rain-hit race didn’t play into Ferrari’s hands due to the set-up the team had chosen.
“For sure we were on the low side of the downforce and the conditions didn’t help us, it’s clear. It would have been much better to have standard conditions, or more consistent conditions, but it is not an excuse at all. We were probably a bit too much up and down.
“If you have a look at what Charles did (in qualifying), I think the pace was very good before the crash. But it’s not the result we were expecting overall and you have to judge just on the result as well.”