Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 team driver Charles Leclerc is searching to find the reasons behind his tyre wear struggles throughout the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Leclerc was on course to beat team-mate Sebastian Vettel to the podium at the Hungaroring before falling prey to a late charge by Vettel on soft compound tyres.
The German passed Leclerc with four laps to go with a robust move on the inside of Turn 1, as Ferrari could only make the fringe of the podium more than a minute behind race winner Lewis Hamilton.
Leclerc admitted that Ferrari expected a tough weekend in Hungary, despite bringing an upgraded aerodynamic package to the final race before F1’s summer break.
The Monégasque reported that he felt pleased with the start of his opening stint on the medium tyres, but progressively struggled with rear tyre wear before his sole pitstop on lap 28 – with track temperatures staying just above 40C for the duration of the race.
Ferrari opted to put Leclerc on the hard compound for the rest of the 70-lap race, while Vettel extended his medium tyre stint to lap 39 and used the soft tyres for the remaining laps.
The difference in tyres meant that Vettel easily caught Leclerc and passed him to take the final spot on the podium.
“Arriving in Hungary we knew it would be a tough race for us, and it was,” said Leclerc.
“The beginning of the first stint wasn’t bad, but as the race progressed, I started to struggle with my rear tyres more and more and could not match the pace of our competitors.”
“My target now is to understand how to improve this, especially over long runs and on circuits where the degradation is high.”
Ferrari is expecting an upturn in performance at the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix immediately after the summer break, where engine power and performance is more of a factor as opposed to chassis balance and downforce levels.
“I look forward to returning to racing after the break so that we can continue working on making further improvements and give our competitors a good challenge,” added Leclerc.