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Ferrari: Leclerc accepted he was wrong over F1 strategy criticisms

Ferrari has revealed how Charles Leclerc rowed back on his criticisms of team strategy calls after their qualifying disappointment in Formula 1's Canadian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Leclerc initially hit out at Ferrari after getting knocked out of Q2 in Montreal when he and the team had failed to capitalise on improving track conditions.

He had initially ventured out at the start of the session on intermediate tyres but, with a dry line emerging, he requested an immediate change to slicks.

The team denied that and ordered him to put a banker lap in before he changed tyres.

PLUS: The F1 reality obscured by Leclerc's public Montreal frustrations

However, by the time he came back out, the rain had returned, and Leclerc was unable to put in a time good enough to make the final Q3 shootout.

Speaking straight after qualifying, Leclerc felt the delay in going to slicks was a mistake as he said that Ferrari needed to stop making such errors.

"I think we are just making our life way too difficult," he told the media. "In those situations, I had a clear opinion. And yeah, we decided to do something else. So, I am frustrated."

He added: "We have to be better than that. And we cannot afford to do those mistakes again. So, I'll speak with the team."

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

But following discussions between Leclerc and Ferrari to explain the situation, and why his request was refused, it has emerged that the Monegasque driver quickly changed his tune over what happened.

Having had the reasoning behind Ferrari's decision explained to him, amid the rapidly changing conditions, Leclerc quickly understood that the pitwall had made the right call and it was not the tyre choice that dumped him out as many other teams did exactly the same thing.

Team principal Fred Vasseur insisted that the situation behind closed doors was very different to how things had appeared when Leclerc first got out of the car as he did not understand the factors that were at play.

Speaking to selected media, including Autosport, about the events, Vasseur said: "We had a good discussion, and he [Leclerc] said: 'Okay I was wrong.'

"You know that I'm always trying to protect my guys - the drivers - for the team. I can perfectly understand when they jump out of the car after bad results, and they have the question from someone: were you happy with this strategy? For sure they say no.

"You will never find drivers say: 'Yeah, it was super, I'm f****d, but it was super.'

"The most important is that I think sometimes it's better to speak with the team before. It is what we had [after qualifying]. It was very calm, very constructive, and very direct."

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Vasseur said Ferrari's analysis of qualifying showed that its tyre decision was not the key factor to it getting knocked out, as the majority of other cars conducted exactly the same strategy as his squad.

"We had the same strategy as 90% of the cars, so it was more that Charles was a bit upset with the car," he said.

Asked about the disagreements being played out over team radio, Vasseur believed it was nothing out of the ordinary.

"I think it's quite normal sometimes that they have a different feeling from the people [on the pitwall]," he said.

"We have to trust their feeling on the one hand, but on the other hand, we have the global picture of what the others are doing. And when you are into the hairpin and the last corner [in Montreal], you don't know what the others did.

"There has to be a common decision; sometimes you are right, and sometimes you are wrong, but there is no one obvious way to fix it. It can't be only the driver because if he has the call and he doesn't see that a car has stopped on track or something [then he will make the wrong call]. That means that it has to be a common decision.

"It's not always easy, and sometimes it's also a matter of luck. In [qualifying] I think the strategy at the end was probably enough to go into Q3 because it was a strategy of 90% of the teams."

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