Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Imola, 2022

Leclerc was “lucky” to finish after spin while chasing Perez – Horner

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc took too much risk trying to pass Sergio Perez when he suffered a costly spin during the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, says Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

The Ferrari driver was trying to make a pass on Perez for second place when he spun into a barrier at the Variante Alta. He was able to continue, but having run third he finished the race in sixth place.

“He was pushing very hard all race, you could see at the top of the hill,” said Horner. “I think turn 14, at the chicane, that was the one part of the track that he was consistently quicker than Checo and it just looked like he got a little bit too greedy on that soft tyre.

“But mistakes can happen and he was actually lucky to finish the race and obviously still get six place points. It was a bonus for us that obviously we were able to take a few more points off them with him not finishing on the podium.”

Before the weekend began the DRS activation point was moved closer to the chicane where Leclerc spun. Horner believes he was “trying to get in the DRS zone of Checo” when he hit the kerb too hard and lost control of his car.

“To do that, you needed to be really quick over that chicane to get into the DRS detection zone before the last couple of corners. So that was obviously what he was trying to try to get within.”

Leclerc’s error removed the last threat to Red Bull, who scored a one-two finish in addition to their strong performance the day before in the sprint race. Horner said it was the perfect recovery after the disappointment of the previous race, where Verstappen retired while running second.

Race start, Imola, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in pictures
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “It’s one point off a maximum score over the whole weekend. A one-three yesterday, one-two today, fastest lap, it was just the rebound that we needed after the disappointment of Australia a couple of weeks ago.

“It was a phenomenal team performance because we took a bit of a risk going into the weekend with a couple of small parts we introduced the car, which is always tricky when you’ve only got one session. But we attacked the weekend from the word go.

“Both drivers have been unbelievable. Both Max and Checo have driven brilliantly this weekend. That one-two finish all credit to the team, brilliant pit stop strategy today, but also back in back in the factory in Milton Keynes.

“The hard effort and work and obviously picking ourselves up after the disappointment of Australia to come back with a result like that here in Imola was one of our best ever results.”

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2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
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11 comments on “Leclerc was “lucky” to finish after spin while chasing Perez – Horner”

  1. Light a candle to Newey i say and congrats. Joking aside, phenomenal result for RB who slowly will be above Ferrari if Sainz keep driving for himself and not for the team.
    Also the Ferrari pitstop was totally unnecessary. What they wanted to achieve? Best case scenario if RB was sleeping was not to put Perez immediately but after 2-3 laps and he could gain 2nd place, but even there both RBs where faster in the race.
    Or the FL was at play? Since Max had so much difference, he could easily pitted to do FL. Instead they opted for softs also when their driver wanted mediums.
    Ferrari has work to do still to be in a championship level position and this includes the drivers, the strategy, the upgrades and the whole team behind before we will say from our armchairs “There’s a winning team”.

    1. I think it was a fair gamble to try and jump Perez. Fine it might not have worked, even if Leclerc hadn’t spun it, but he was unlikely to challenge without the pit stop, and was right on Perez’s tail following, so I think it definitely was worthwhile trying.

    2. They have the third place and almost free pit-stop gap from Norris. By pitting they put in play the scenario on which Red Bull also pit and being able to attack que second place from Perez, but even if the Red Bull didn’t pit, they can achieve the fastest lap and get an additional point. I think both scenarios has a reward and they did well in try it.
      Leclerc error was just unfortunate for Ferrari.

    3. @bluechris
      I guess Ferrari were afraid Pérez would get too far ahead, as Leclerc was already 3 sec behind the RB before the pit stop. Pitting Charles was definitely the right call, just the timing was bad. Had Ferrari pitted him 3 or 4 laps later, he would’ve been easily ahead of Norris and would’ve had a better chance of puttting pressure on Pérez.
      Pitting Leclerc to attack Pérez could’ve gained Ferrari 6 points in total over RB, while the fastest lap would’ve brought them just 2. It was sensible to at least give it a try, though the outcome was the worst possible scenario or very bad at least.

  2. All those Max DNF’s mean Charles has enough cushion for risks like these. It is going to be interesting to see the fight between those two as the season goes on.

    1. True. Unlike LEC, VER was so far in all races good for P1 or P2. Without those DNFs, I think VER would have been leading the WDC… and that mostly because PER seems to be doing a difference compared to SAI. I mean, PER today did his job and was good all race long for P2, SAI didn’t do the same job in Australia. I root for Ferrari, and hopefully these 2 races won’t be WHAT IF at the end of the season.

      1. Verstappen has been consistently getting 1-2 I think since year 2020? I mean without those crashes with Mercedes on last year and reliability DNF he’d never getting result below 2nd place ever since year 2020, that’s crazy achievement.

  3. Man, was I shouting at my TV after he binned it at Variante Alta!
    He got too greedy in trying to hunt down Pérez for P2 and took far too much kerb on the entry to the chicane (even if the Ferrari was very good over them, but that was just ridiculous from Leclerc). The moment he arrived at the chicane I had a feeling he would bin it.
    I am starting to doubt now that Leclerc actually lerns from his mistakes, because he is still overdoing it in situations with very little to gain. Those possible 3 points more weren’t worth the risk!

    1. It was a lapse of judgement and in the and got lucky he didn’t DNF. He will surely learn. If it gets close between Max and Charles, it would be a true test of character for Charles. Max had showed how even under pressure he can deliver, Charles might need to cross that bridge too.

    2. I really miss Alonso as a Ferrari driver. This current driver pairing is pretty underwhelming, especially as it comes at a time when they finally have a competitive car after so many years of struggling.

  4. I think the ferrari strategy yesterday was questionable, first stop was fine outside of them not knowing about no tyre blankets/warmers this year, but on the second stop, I thought it was obivious that Red Bull was going to respond to the undercut

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