Was Ferrari’ strategy for Leclerc a good call?

Surprisingly, one of the main protagonists of the Turkish Grand Prix was Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc whose race again drastically changed during the last laps of the race, after also the Russian Grand Prix had finished in heartbreak.

Substantially, Charles Leclerc was left in the lead on lap 39 as Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen pitted and Ferrari decided, like Lewis Hamilton, not to stop and try to finish the race without the pitstop, which was not mandatory due to the weather conditions.

However, the Monegasque had to surrender to Valtteri Bottas on lap 47 and consequently, pit, as tyre degradation was evolving to a grade considered dangerous by Pirelli and the performance was only worsening. Leclerc was then unfortunate as the new set of intermediates didn’t work due to the track drying and the Ferrari driver could only finish under the podium in fourth.

In hindsight, Ferrari’s choice to not have him pit with the front group is open to discussion and comes down to the position in which Maranello is during this 2021 season.

Although Pirelli had already advised teams that the drivers wouldn’t have managed to reach the chequered flag on the same set of inters, it is also true that Alpine driver Esteban Ocon did finish the race without pitting, hence the no-stop strategy wasn’t impossible.

The other point in favor of Ferrari is that with changeable weather conditions, the possibility of a worsening condition with all drivers obliged to pit again or the track drying up enough to actually fit slicks wasn’t considered completely out of the window yet and could’ve helped Charles Leclerc conquer the top step of the podium.

Finally, the most important reason behind Ferrari’s choice is the position Ferrari is in at the moment. Maranello is currently fighting against McLaren for third place in the Constructors’ Championship and on Sunday in Istanbul, the British team’s bad performance allowed Ferrari to gamble without losing too many points in the battle for best of the rest.

Overall, considering that the possibility of a victory was concrete and would have finally gifted the Tifosi an unhoped success, it was right for Maranello to follow the dream and take bold decisions to try and conquer the glory. In the end, unluckily the strategy didn’t work but also only let Ferrari lose 3 points, considering Leclerc would’ve gotten third by pitting with Verstappen and Bottas.

Finally, the same choice of trying to finish the race on the same set of tyres would have been much more complicated for Hamilton and Verstappen, for which any point and risk need to be calculated to try and win the Championship, whereas Ferrari was allowed to choose more through passion than through reason.

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