Leclerc: 'Always something going wrong' at Ferrari after Hungary 'disaster'

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Charles Leclerc voiced yet more frustration at Ferrari after another strategy "disaster" at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Monegasque had worked his way into the lead at the Hungaroring after doing an overcut on teammate Carlos Sainz at the first pit-stop before passing George Russell with an emphatic move into Turn 1.

But after Max Verstappen had pitted for a second time, Ferrari responded by putting Leclerc onto the hard tyre which backfired massively in the cool, drizzly conditions.

As a result, Max caught and passed Charles twice on either side of a spin before Russell also got ahead on track.

Leclerc Verstappen Russell HunGP

The Italian team pitted Leclerc again for soft tyres, but he didn't have the time to catch those ahead, eventually crossing the line in P6.

“We need to speak with the team and understand the thought behind putting [on] the hards because I felt very strong on the mediums," he told Sky Sports post-race.

“Everything was under control and for some reason, I don’t know why we need to go onto [the] hards, so I don’t know.

“I said on the radio I was very comfortable with the mediums and that I wanted to go as long as possible with those tyres because the feeling was good.

“But I don’t know why we took a different decision.”

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Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto later offered an explanation...

"When we fitted the hard, our simulation was that it could have been a difficult couple of laps of warm-up," he said.

"It would have been slower to the medium for 10-11 laps, and then it would have come back and been faster than the end of the stint, and it was a 30-lap stint.

"We were trying to protect position on Max. It would have been too long certainly for the softs. Yes, it would have been difficult at the start of the stint, but it would have come back by the end."

That plan was abandoned though due to the lack of pace, but Binotto blamed that on the car rather than the strategy.

"It's important to say that we believe that the car was not working as expected," he added.

"We didn't have the speed we were hoping for looking back at the Friday, and the pace we had in the race conditions on Friday. So today was certainly different conditions, a lot cooler.

"But overall the speed today was not great enough, and whatever tyres we were using, I don't think we were as good as we were looking for."

That point was disputed by Leclerc though.

“Honestly, the pace on my side? I was pretty happy,” he said. “The only thing is obviously everybody will remember the last part of the race was a disaster for me, especially the hard tyre.

“That’s where I lost the race, basically. I lost 20 seconds with a pit stop, another maybe six seconds on five laps on the hards because I was just all over the place with this tyre. And that’s where we lost our race."

Hungary was just the latest in a growing list of setbacks for Leclerc, who now sits 80 points behind Verstappen in the Drivers' Championship.

Leclerc HunGP Saturday

And the 24-year-old admits Ferrari can't keep going as it is.

“A race like this is frustrating and we need to get better as a whole,” he told the PA.

“It feels like there is always something going wrong – reliability, mistakes, whatever. We need to be better at putting a weekend together.

“Now, we will try to use the few days we have to reset, but also try to analyse and understand where we need to be better and what we can do to be better because it is extremely important.”