Sergio Perez was fooled by Ferrari into dropping from P2 in the Drivers’ Championship race in Abu Dhabi, according to Charles Leclerc.
Charles Leclerc has discussed how Ferrari tricked Sergio Perez, a rival in Formula 1, into making a second pit stop, earning the Monegasque driver P2 in the Drivers’ standings during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Going into the last race, Leclerc and Perez were tied on points; whoever won would take second place in the championship behind stunning winner Max Verstappen.
Perez was in second place in the race after the first round of pit stops while both teams debated whether a one-stop or two-stop strategy would be more effective.
The decisive turn happened on lap 34 when Leclerc was instructed to “box, opposite Perez.” In reaction, Leclerc committed to the one-stopper rather than coming in, and Perez pitted to cover him off.
With 24 laps remaining, Perez was now in P6 and nearly 20 seconds behind the Ferrari. On his comeback, Perez was slowed down by traffic, including Lewis Hamilton, and came just 1.3 seconds short of his goal, with Leclerc taking second place by three points over the Mexican.
Following the race, Leclerc discussed the strategy that had aided him with Sky Sports F1.
“I can say it now but we dummied him and made him think we were going to pit,” Ferrari driver explained. “He took it and went for the second stop, so we did everything perfect and I am very proud of our execution.”
“It’s been a very difficult season for the whole team. We started extremely well then we’ve had loads of problems with the reliability, strategy and tyre management obviously later on in the season.”
“That wasn’t easy to manage knowing that the potential was in the car to do very well, and so to finish on a high at least is good.”
“Now we need to focus on finding a next step for the race pace because Red Bull seem to have something that we don’t have for now but it’s encouraging to see such a good performance in terms of execution of the races.”