It was the worst home Grand Prix possible for Scuderia Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc finishing sixth after spinning out of third late-on, and with Carlos Sainz Jr retiring on the opening lap after colliding with Daniel Ricciardo at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit.
Leclerc’s race got off to the worst possible start, after dropping to fourth on the opening lap after a poor getaway from the lights. The Monegasque driver was quickly up to third though and right behind Sergio Pérez. Leclerc managed to successfully overcut the Mexican, when changing from Intermediate to Medium tyres but quickly found himself back behind the Mexican who had much better grip.
In front of the team’s home crowd, Leclerc gave it his all to take second off of Pérez, however the Monegasque driver went over the limit. Leclerc span late-on at the Variante Alta chicane, after carrying too much speed and taking far too much kerb. Leclerc’s spin saw him hit the barrier and break his front-wing, resulting in a late unnecessary pit-stop. This dropped Leclerc almost to the foot of the points places, the Championship leader did well though to recover back to sixth.
Leclerc saw his championship lead reduce, after rival Max Verstappen claimed an easy victory. Leclerc knows he should’ve remained in third but is determined to come back stronger following his mistake.
“It was a very tricky race. Third was the best result we could have secured today, as our competitors were very strong. I struggled on the Soft tyres but when I saw an opportunity to overtake Perez for second, I went for it, pushing a bit too much, when I should have stayed put to secure those points. We will analyse all the data and come back stronger.“
“For the last two races things haven’t gone our way” – Carlos Sainz Jr
Carlos Sainz Jr’ weekend really was one to forget. The Spaniard who started the weekend on a high having signed a contract extension with Ferrari which will see him in red till the end of 2024, ended the weekend having crashed twice.
Sainz had recovered from his Qualifying crash brilliantly in the Sprint race, however this was all undone after being spun into the deep gravel-trap by Ricciardo on the opening lap at Tamburello.
Sainz recognised that it was just bad luck but was nevertheless disappointed not to have put on a show for the returning Tifosi.
“This was an unlucky day. I braked well into turn 1, leaving enough space to my left, but unfortunately Daniel (Ricciardo) lost control of his car a bit and hit me from behind, throwing me into a spin and into the gravel. It’s a big shame because we were up for a good race, but there is nothing else I could have done differently at that point to avoid it. It’s tough to take, as today I wanted to have a good race in front of our fans. For the last two races things haven’t gone our way at all, but I’m still confident we can turn it around. There are many races ahead of us and you can be sure we will keep pushing. On to Miami.“