During the closing stages of the United States Grand Prix, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc received team orders to switch with his teammate, Carlos Sainz. At the time, Leclerc vented his frustration over the radio but has since understood the reasoning.
Due to Leclerc’s one-stop strategy being unfavourable, Sainz was moved ahead due to his being on the far more effective two-stop strategy. Leclerc knew this, but still didn’t see why he had to switch. That was until he realised that Sergio Perez was closing in on Sainz and staying behind Leclerc would have cost the team.
Sainz would go on to finish fourth and get promoted to third after Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification. Leclerc was also disqualified so the move was a pertinent one.
Speaking after the race, Leclerc admitted that he was a bit hasty over the radio and knew almost immediately that it was the right choice.
“I actually understood the choice 10 seconds later when they reopened the radio and told me that Checo was behind coming back a little bit on Carlos,” Leclerc told the media.
“Then I understood that obviously, we couldn’t afford to fight between cars.
“I completely understand the reason at the end, as soon as they told me that, I got it and just got on with my race.”
Leclerc has now failed to convert 10 pole positions to wins. As a result, Leclerc felt they could’ve achieved a much better result but this was before his disqualification.
“We could have and I could have done many things so it’s very difficult but a better [result] than P6 [was possible] I’m sure,” Leclerc said.
“Whether it was P3 or P4, I don’t know. But definitely a better result than P6, for sure.”