Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto does not regret the aggressive approach taken during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that saw Charles Leclerc spin out of third place and finish sixth.
Leclerc was called in for an extra pit stop to switch to soft tires and try and attack Sergio Perez for second in the closing laps, putting pressure on the Red Bull driver. But while chasing Perez, Leclerc took too much curb at the Variante Fausto Gresini and spun into the barrier, sustaining damage that required an extra pit stop and lost him a number of positions.
“At that time of the race the pace with Sergio Perez the pace was very, very similar or slightly better,” Binotto said. “But because we believed that there was no opportunity for us to attack and overtake Perez with those tires anymore, so we did the pit stops.
“We tried to hope at least that they would stop as well – which was the case – so they were both on new tires, like resetting the race with 15 laps to go and on soft tires.
“It worked pretty well, Charles was very close to Sergio and he tried to attack before he made the mistake.
“I think there will never be regret to ask a driver to push. I think that’s part of our job, it’s part of their job to drive to the limit. Obviously mistakes can happen. I think these cars on the curbs are a lot more stiff and if you make a small mistake you’re paying for it quite a lot.
“No, no regrets, I think we made the right choice.”
It wasn’t just Leclerc who suffered an incident during Sunday’s race, with Carlos Sainz eliminated on the opening lap after contact with Daniel Ricciardo, but Binotto downplayed the Spaniard’s second consecutive retirement and wants Sainz to move on from it quickly.
“I think he was unlucky and that may happen. There are always statistics and when twice in a row he has a mistake or bad luck, to not happen anymore I think we should simply try and take some pressure off that.
“We should not think about it, look forward with a smile, heads up and I’m pretty sure that he’s a strong driver and he will know what to do and I’m not concerned.”