Mixed feelings for Scuderia Ferrari come to the end of the 2022 French Grand Prix. On the one hand, Carlos Sainz put on a great show, moving through the field from 19th to fifth, but on the other, Charles Leclerc retired while leading and looking on course to secure his fourth win of the season, when he crashed at turn 11 on lap 18.
The race. Charles kept the lead at the start and, as was the case in Austria a fortnight ago, made the most of the F1-75’s ability to better manage the tyres to pull away from Max Verstappen. Carlos bided his time in the early stages, working to get his Hard tyres up to the right operating temperature before starting to move up the order. The Spaniard was soon in the top ten and when Charles went off on lap 18, bringing out the Safety Car, Carlos pitted to fit Medium tyres. Unfortunately, the stewards deemed that there was an unsafe release as he left the pits and he was handed a 5 second penalty. On fresh tyres, Carlos’ pace was immediately excellent, allowing him to get as high as third, with two memorable passing moves, firstly on George Russell at Signes and then on Sergio Perez at the final corner. Then he had to pit again to take the penalty, at which point his car was fitted with another set of Mediums. Carlos managed to fight his way back up to fifth, also depriving Max Verstappen of the race fastest lap. He was duly voted “Driver of the Day” by the fans.
Hungary before the break. It’s with a bitter-sweet feeling that the team now returns to Maranello, even if it is clear the car package is competitive, so that it can head to Budapest in the hope of turning things around in the Hungarian Grand Prix next Sunday, prior to the usual fortnight-long summer break.
‘It was a hard race today but I also enjoyed going through the field, making lots of overtakes. To make places up with the Hards was tricky but as soon as I put the Mediums the pace improved a lot and I managed to make good moves. I gave everything out there today and, even though we were a bit unlucky with the pit stop and the penalty, we managed to fight at the front. Like always, we will review everything these couple of days to see where we can improve and hopefully we can bring home a better result before the summer break. A pity for Charles as he was doing a great race. We’ll keep pushing.’
‘I’m very disappointed. This is not the outcome that I wanted today, as we had the pace to win. I made a mistake and paid the price for it. Now I will head home to reset before the next race in Hungary, where I will give it my all once again.’
Mattia Binotto Team Principal & Managing Director
‘Although this result was far from the one we wanted, there are still some positives to take away from this race. First of all, the F1-75 was very competitive, even on this difficult Paul Ricard track. There is no point on dwelling on Charles’ mistake. These things can happen, even to great drivers like him and together, we have already put it behind us. Carlos had a strong weekend, starting with qualifying, when he did what was required of him for the team. In the race, he was patient in the early stages and then made up places lap after lap, including some brilliant overtaking moves. Now we look ahead to Hungary where we want to fight for the win once again.’