Mattia Binotto backs Ferrari over late Charles Leclerc pitstop at Spa

Mattia Binotto has backed his Ferrari team over their decision to pit Charles Leclerc in the final stages of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Leclerc has dropped to third in the Drivers’ standings on the back of the race at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday, with Max Verstappen extending his championship lead after winning and Sergio Perez jumping up into second place after coming home in P2.

Indeed, it was a dominant performance from Red Bull with Ferrari having no answers, with Carlos Sainz finishing third and Leclerc down in sixth.

The Monegasque crossed the line in P5 but a speeding infringement during a late pitstop gave him a time penalty and promoted Fernando Alonso above him, which just about summed up Leclerc’s day.

Early on in the race as he was looking to climb the field he picked up a visor tear-off and had to pit to have it removed as it was causing over-heating on the front-right.

That, in turn, meant sensors for the pitlane limit were not working and, hence, Leclerc went over the limit, triggering the time penalty.

Indeed, he’d only come into the pit for the final few laps in a bid to achieve the fastest lap and associated bonus point on fresh tyres but ended up missing out on that as well, after getting involved in a scrap on track with Fernando Alonso.

It was a roll of the dice to bring him in from Ferrari, then, and it backfired considerably, though Binotto said after the race he had no regrets about the call:

“We were not using our normal sensors measuring the speed because they have failed during the overheating of the front-right due to the tear-off of Max, and our recovery [system], maybe it was not such accurate.

“I think overall, it has been an unlucky situation, it’s not because of that we stop deciding and being brave, to go for a fastest lap when conditions are there to go for it.”

“I think it was the right decision, and we knew it would have been very close to Fernando, it was just tight losing the position.

“But we knew as well he could have overtook him back because he had the fresher tyres, and that could have helped in terms of DRS and top line speed in the main straight.

“Once again, I think it was the right decision.”

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