Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has defended Charles Leclerc after the Monegasque squandered a podium finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
After a spin, Charles Leclerc finished sixth in the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, giving Red Bull a one-two finish.
Over the course of the weekend at Imola, Ferrari and Red Bull appeared to be similarly matched, but the Milton Keynes squad dominated the Scuderia in Imola, with Max Verstappen taking the grand slam ahead of Sergio Perez, securing their first one-two since 2016.
Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo took out Carlos Sainz on the first lap, while Leclerc appeared certain to finish third after being outpaced by the Red Bulls all afternoon.
However, in his effort to set the best lap and cut the gap behind Perez following a pit stop to switch to soft tyres, the 24-year-old spread at the Variante Alta, breaking his front wing and resulting in a P6 finish.
Some may attribute the error to the pressure of being in contention for the championship, but Binotto argues that this is not the case.
“The mistake had nothing to do with pressure,” Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said. “I think racing drivers are used to driving at the limit. The cars have harder suspension this year and if you get too high on the curb, you can lose the car.”
Red Bull is claimed to have lost 5kg as a result of the improvement they brought to Italy last weekend, while Ferrari may be hampered slightly by the ground effect aerodynamics’ “porpoising.”
While Ferrari made no significant changes at Imola, Binotto confirmed that the team has been striving to eliminate the porpoising, and that a more significant improvement will be made as the European season progresses.
“We will work on preventing the bouncing and on adapting our aerodynamics package for this track, which requires less downforce,” he added. “The larger upgrade will follow a little later.”
Ralf Schumacher, a former Formula One driver, chastised Leclerc for his gaffe, claiming that the missed points could have been crucial as the title race heats up.
“It’s very close and I think it will stay that way for the rest of the season,” Schumacher said. “That’s why every little mistake counts, even if it was a big one today.”
“What happened with him was not necessary at all, he should have accepted taking third place home, because doing that is also the key to a world championship.”
“He took too much of the kerb in that situation. Far too much.”
Leclerc admitted that he was “greedy” in his pursuit of faster lap time and accepted responsibility for the error.
“I believe that the spin shouldn’t have happened today, I mean P3 was the best I could do,” he told Sky Sports.
“We didn’t have the pace for much more and I was too greedy and I paid the price for it and lost seven potential points compared to my third place I was before so it is a shame.”
“It’s seven points that are valuable at the end of the championship for sure and this shouldn’t happen again.”
Following his dismal performance in Bologna, Leclerc now leads Max Verstappen by 27 points in the Drivers’ Championship.