Ferrari made it very clear before the British GP that they expected Silverstone to be one of their “worst tracks” and when that turned out to be true, the team shrugged their shoulders expectantly.
The big surprise for Ferrari was McLaren’s pace, but they weren’t the only team caught off guard by that. The other was Mercedes’ pace.
“We were definitely struggling on pace compared to McLaren and Mercedes,” Carlos Sainz said, “more than we expected, but we know with this wind and this track it’s always going to be tricky for us.”
Why was this track always going to be tricky? High-speed corners.
“We knew that this track was going to be one of our worst tracks just because of the high speed corners,” Leclerc told the media. “This is one of the weakness [sic] of the car.”
Tyre degradation has been a big issue for the SF-23, but it wasn’t a factor at Silverstone.
“It’s not like we degraded the tyres more than others,” Leclerc explained, “it’s just that Mercedes and McLaren were stronger than us.”
Pitting early was a result of being caught between a rock and a hard place, according to Leclerc.
“I managed to keep George [Russell] behind,” Leclerc said, “I think that maybe George was planning to come in if we were staying out, so probably the team decided that it was better to be aggressive ourselves and pit.”
That didn’t work out as planned as the team were “on the back foot for the rest of the race.” If that wasn’t bad enough, a Safety Car further complicated Ferrari’s race.
Carlos Sainz said that the Safety Car “came out in the worst possible time” because he “had no tyres left.” It was here that the Spaniard was overheard discussing with his engineer over the radio whether he should pit. They decided to keep Sainz out.
“It was 50/50, that’s why I left it to the team to decide,” Sainz explained. “Boxing would have been being P10, not boxing being P6 but with positions to lose. We tried to stay out there, mabe work for three or four laps until Checo in a Red Bull was always gonna pass us.”
Leclerc echoed his teammate as he explained that their lack of pace meant that any situation was going to be precarious.
“Honestly, not having the pace puts us in a situation that then is very tricky to manage whatever situation there is, so then it looks like bad luck,” he said.
“The timing of the Safety Car was definitely not the best for us and was beneficial for many other drivers, but at the end, that’s life. We just didn’t have the pace.”