Following challenging events in Britain and Hungary, this marked Ferrari’s first podium since the Monegasque racer clinched second position in Austria.
Leclerc hinted at some improvement in tyre wear in races where the team didn’t perform as expected, but he expressed reservations about drawing broader conclusions.
“It might be premature to make definitive claims, but we’ve seen better tyre management in the last two or three races,” he stated. “I don’t think tyres were the issue behind our lag from the Red Bulls today; they were simply faster.
“In terms of tyre conservation, however, our degradation wasn’t significant. Even with Mercedes trailing behind, I maintained command over my tyre pace.
“So in that respect, things seem positive. We still need to monitor this closely because in certain conditions, we occasionally miss the optimal tyre performance window, which causes us considerable difficulties.”
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14
Photograph by: Sam Bloxham / F1 Flow Images
Leclerc explained that the team’s tactical approach at Spa was largely reactive to Lewis Hamilton’s movements.
“In essence, our actions were dictated by Lewis’s moves behind us, which subsequently prompted Red Bull’s response a lap later,” he said. “That’s why everyone’s strategies seemed aligned; each team was responding to another’s moves.
“So yes, our game plan revolved around Lewis and our attempts to keep him at bay throughout the race. Despite his strong performance, I felt we had the situation under control.”
Ferrari’s head, Fred Vasseur, proposed that the inherent speed Ferrari demonstrated at Spa meant drivers didn’t need to excessively push, helping to preserve the tyres – a recurring strategy at Ferrari in recent years.
“Sometimes, the lack of speed forces you to push beyond limits,” said the Frenchman. “Everyone has to manage, even Red Bull, they managed a lot during the race.
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“And when speed isn’t on your side, managing becomes key. Over-pushing can damage the tyres, but it’s a primary factor in strategising.
“Executing a successful strategy is significantly simpler with good speed. Without speed, no matter what you do, you’ll always lag behind, and the same applies to tyre degradation.
“When the speed is there, management becomes more straightforward. When it’s missing, you’re left with no choice but to push.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ferrari’s tyre management
Where did Charles Leclerc finish in the recent race?
Charles Leclerc secured a solid third place finish behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
Did Ferrari experience tyre issues in this race?
Leclerc hinted that Ferrari has seen some improvement in tyre wear in recent races, with less degradation noticed. However, he was careful not to draw broad conclusions just yet.
What was Ferrari’s strategy during the race?
Their strategy was largely reactive to Lewis Hamilton’s movements. They tried to maintain their position and keep Hamilton at bay throughout the race.
What did Ferrari’s head, Fred Vasseur, say about their race strategy?
Vasseur suggested that the inherent speed Ferrari demonstrated at Spa meant drivers didn’t need to excessively push, which helped to preserve the tyres. He emphasized that when the speed isn’t there, managing the situation and not over-pushing is key to preventing tyre damage.
What was the reason for Ferrari’s lag from the Red Bulls?
Leclerc believes that the Red Bulls were simply faster in this race, and tyre issues were not the reason for the lag.