Leclerc: Too early to know if Ferrari has solved F1 tyre issues

Charles Leclerc says it’s too early to confirm that Ferrari has addressed its tyre degradation issues after his solid performance in the Formula 1 Belgian GP.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

On a day when many drivers suffered tyre issues Leclerc had a strong run to third place behind the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

After two difficult weekends in Britain and Hungary, it was the Italian team’s first podium since the Monegasque driver took second in Austria.

Leclerc suggested that there were signs of improved tyre degradation even in races where the team had poor results, but he remains cautious about the bigger picture.

“I think it's a bit too early to say but it's been two or three races where we are managing our tyres better,” he said. “I think today, this was definitely not the reason why we finished so far behind the Red Bulls, I think they were just quicker.

“But in terms of tyre management, we didn't have a huge degradation. And also looking at Mercedes behind, I was in control of the pace of my tyres.

“So on that it looked good. We still need to keep an eye on that because sometimes, especially in very specific conditions, we sometimes get off the window of the tyres, the right window, and then we struggle quite a lot.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Leclerc said that the team's strategy at Spa was a case of responding to what the chasing Hamilton was doing.

“Basically, we had to react to what Lewis was doing behind, which then the Red Bull had to react to us a lap later,” he said. “So that’s why we were all on the same strategy, because everybody was reacting to somebody else’s strategy.

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“So, yeah, our strategy was based on Lewis and trying to keep him behind during the whole race. He had a good pace, but I felt we had him under control.”

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur suggested that because Ferrari had inherent pace at Spa the drivers didn’t have to push over the limit, and that in turn protected the tyres, something that has been a recurring theme at Ferrari in recent years.

"Sometimes it's just that when you don't have the pace, you have to over push,” said the Frenchman. “Everybody's managing, even Red Bull, they were managing a lot during the race.

“And when you don't have the pace, you have to manage. Or if you push, you damage the tyres, but it's the main driver of the situation, like for the strategy.

“It's much easier to have a good strategy when the pace is there than when you don't have the pace. When you don't have the pace, you can do whatever you want, you will be far away, and for tyre deg, it's almost the same.

“When the pace is there, it's much easier to manage. When you don't have the pace, you have to push."

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