Charles Leclerc said his Ferrari team threw victory away in Monaco with two strategic errors which left him screaming in frustration.
He led the opening stages of the rain-hit race before coming in to switch from full wet to intermediate tyres. However his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr did not switch to intermediates, choosing instead to move directly to the slick tyres, and Leclerc said his change was the first mistake of the afternoon.
“Obviously in those conditions you rely a little bit on what the team can see because you don’t see what the others are doing with intermediates, with dry tyres,” he told Sky.
“I [was] asked questions whether I wanted to go from extreme wets to the slicks, and I said ‘yes but not now’. It would be a bit later on in the race. I don’t understand what made us change our minds and go on this intermediate.
“We got undercut and I stopped behind Carlos. There’s been a lot of mistakes and we cannot afford to do that. It’s hard as it’s been the other years here so I’m getting used to getting back home disappointed. But we cannot do that.
“Especially in the moment that we are in now. We are extremely strong now, our pace is strong, we need to take those opportunities. We cannot lose so many points like this. It’s not even from first to second, it’s from first to fourth because after the first mistakes we’ve done another one. I love my team and I am sure we will come back stronger but it hurts a lot.”
Leclerc said the first mistake was “a very clear decision, and a very wrong one, and from that moment onwards the mess started.”
That tyre swap allowed Sainz to get ahead of him. Leclerc then followed his team mate into the pits on the same lap when both changed to slick tyres. Ferrari attempted to tell him to stay out, but sent the message too late.
“Obviously the message that I had wasn’t clear, the last one wasn’t clear, because I was told to come in but then to stay out but I was already in the pit lane,” said Leclerc. “And that’s where I basically let it all out on the radio and screamed because I just couldn’t do anything and I knew that I was done.”
Asked whether he felt let down by the team, Leclerc said “Let down is not the word.
“Sometimes mistakes can happen but there have been too many mistakes today overall.”
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