Leclerc: Toro Rosso and Hartley played a bit of a game in Monaco GP

Sauber Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc believes Toro Rosso played "a bit of a game" during the Monaco Grand Prix by getting Brendon Hartley to slow down others

Leclerc: Toro Rosso and Hartley played a bit of a game in Monaco GP

Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly ran a very long first stint to rise from 10th to sixth but looked as though he would drop out of the points as others stopped earlier and eradicated his pitstop window.

Hartley was 12th, heading a group of midfield contenders that moved into points contention by stopping earlier, and just 15 seconds behind Gasly on lap 26 but had dropped to 28s back when Gasly pitted 10 laps later.

"That was so frustrating," said Leclerc, who was bottled up behind Hartley. "I think Toro Rosso has played a bit of a game.

"Brendon was clearly slowing down at one point. We were like 2.8s slower than the laps we were doing at the end of the race.

"Before that we were in a very good place to score points, theoretically."

Gasly defied all expectations for hypersoft tyre management by extending his opening stint so long, which he admitted was an improvisation from his team as it monitored the performance of the otherwise unpopular compound.

At the beginning of the phase that re-established Gasly's pitstop window, Hartley caught a five-car train led by Nico Hulkenberg, who was also running long.

Hartley fell away from that group during an erratic spell in which his laptimes rose into the 1m20s, having been consistently 1m18s before.

It took Hartley another dozen laps after Gasly stopped before he started to consistently improve again, which Hartley said was down to the front tyres graining.

Several drivers struggled with this during the same phase of the race but Hartley felt his problem was exacerbated by front wing damage from the a first-lap bump with Leclerc.

"Initially I did a few very good laps to get the undercut, which worked very well, then I suffered big time with graining," Hartley explained.

"The team told me others were suffering the same, but I think having damage on the front wing wasn't helping."

Hartley picked up a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane, which meant that even when it looked like his group would get ahead of the runners yet to stop he was poised to tumble down the order.

"If we were in their position, considering Brendon's penalty, we probably would have done the same as a team," said Leclerc.

"It's not blaming anything on Toro Rosso, it was just frustrating to be the car behind."

The on-track battle between Hartley and Leclerc ended in a spectacular crash when Leclerc's front left brake disc "exploded" under braking for the Nouvelle chicane.

Sauber had registered a brake problem on Leclerc's car but thought it would survive to the end of the race.

shares
comments
Red Bull was willing to let Ricciardo's engine fail in Monaco F1 race

Previous article

Red Bull was willing to let Ricciardo's engine fail in Monaco F1 race

Next article

Ferrari's chief F1 designer Simone Resta leaves to join Sauber

Ferrari's chief F1 designer Simone Resta leaves to join Sauber
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Brendon Hartley , Charles Leclerc
Teams Toro Rosso
Author Stuart Codling
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021