Leclerc and Sainz Fail to Score Points at the French Grand Prix
The Scuderia Ferrari teammates found themselves lacking pace due to tyre degradation.
In Charles Leclerc’s own words, Ferrari has gone “back to reality.” Ahead of the race, Charles had anticipated a drop in their performance, but remained hopeful that Ferrari would be able to hold its own after securing pole positions in both Monaco and Baku.
For the French Grand Prix, both cars started in the top 10, with a chance to take a good amount of points and secure their position in the championship. During the race at Paul Ricard, that wasn’t the case with tyre degradation putting them down the order as Carlos Sainz finished P11 and Charles finishing P16.
“It was very bad for both of us, for Carlos and I, we struggled massively on both compounds.” Leclerc said after the race. They both started on the medium compounds eventually switching to the hard compounds, with Leclerc making another stop for another set of mediums.
“At the end, we tried, with me, a medium to see whether there was something that we could have done better. But it was the same as the first stint, I did three or four laps quite okay, and then we degraded like crazy.”
Carlos also spoke of the tyre degradation, claiming that their degradation is twice as bad as their competitors. Sainz also did not believe the Scuderia could have done anything different with strategy to fix the issue.
“The problem is when you have so much degradation like we had today, you have no margin with strategy. You have no margin with defending, it’s not like we are the quickest on the straights either.” The Spaniard said.
Sainz had qualified fifth, and retained his place until he was undercut by his own teammate, and Daniel Ricciardo in the pits. As his tyres began to degrade, he began losing positions to McLaren’s Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll. “On Friday we looked okay. But clearly the conditions changed and the way we treat the tyres, we are not very resilient to condition changes.” Sainz said. “We are on the limit of graining the front tyres always and as soon as we grain them, basically we go backwards.
Team Principal, Mattia Binotto, also echoed the sentiment of the poor tyre performance being the cause of their performance. “It’s hard to accept, but we will learn from it, determined to move forward.”
Both Leclerc and Sainz are hoping Ferrari will be able to identify the issue of the tyres before the Austrian Grand Prix. Pirelli will be supplying the same three compounds for the race at the Red Bull Ring.