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Ferrari launches probe into Monaco decision-making problems

Picture: Andrej Isakovic / AFP.

Picture: Andrej Isakovic / AFP.

Published May 31, 2022

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Monte Carlo - Ferrari on Monday launched a probe into the sequence of errors that combined to undermine the team’s hopes of winning the Monaco Grand Prix where it held pole position and led the race.

Team boss Mattia Binotto departed the Mediterranean principality determined to ensure his team carried out an honest, transparent and positive investigation of their strategic decision-making problems.

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Home hero Charles Leclerc had started the rain- and crash-hit race ahead of Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz and the pair led the opening laps, but a series of misjudgements and bad calls cost the team on a track where overtaking is almost impossible.

As they bungled their key decisions, rivals Red Bull took control with an aggressive strategy that handed an emotional maiden Monaco victory to Mexican Sergio Perez, the third win of his career.

For 24-year-old Monegasque Leclerc it meant he remained without a victory in his home event, even if he had the consolation of finishing his home race for a first time after finishing fourth behind Sainz and world champion Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull.

Ultimately, as Binotto conceded, Red Bull had given Ferrari lessons in making strategic decisions under pressure during a difficult race in changing conditions. Both Red Bull drivers used superior pit-stop tactics to pass their direct rival in the race.

"We certainly made mistakes in our judgements and we made mistakes in our calls," said Binotto "The first was underestimating the pace of the intermediate tyre and the gap we had to the other cars, in terms of track position. It's something we need to look at.

"We've had our briefing with the drivers, we went through it, we had discussions, tried to understand, but believe me, it was quite a complicated one. It was not an obvious one, but certainly we made a mistake."

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He admitted that Ferrari erred in failing to bring in Leclerc earlier than they did. "Or we should have stayed out on the wet tyres to protect our position and then switch directory to the dry tyres," he added.

"That main mistake is straightforward. But what was the process that took us to that? It will take some more time to look at it and have a clear explanation."

He conceded: "We were leading the race here in Monaco and you should be in position, if not keeping the lead, at least finishing second. Finishing fourth shows we did something wrong... it's not a matter of being unlucky."

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Ferrari's tactical capitulation has left the Italian team without a win in Monaco since four-time champion Sebastian Vettel's triumph in 2017 – their only victory in 20 visits since seven-time champion Michael Schumacher's fifth and final win in 2001.

It also cost Leclerc an ideal opportunity to regain the initiative in the drivers' championship which Verstappen now leads by nine points with 125 to his 116. Perez on 110 moved up to third.

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