Scuderia Ferrari leaves Hungary having secured seventh place with Charles Leclerc and eighth with Carlos Sainz. The race itself did not produce any great drama, although for Leclerc, there were some unforeseen incidents in the pit lane.
First part. Charles was on used Mediums for a start and got ahead of Guanyu Zhou for fifth place, while Carlos got away really well on new Softs, passing no fewer than five cars to tuck in behind his team-mate. The SF-23s had good pace in the first stint, matching the McLarens and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, but at his first pit stop to switch to Hard tyres, Charles’ race got complicated: a wheel gun did not work, and he lost around seven seconds, dropping several places. Charles soon made up ground, closing on Carlos so that they were sixth and seventh, and their pace on this compound was also consistent. Leclerc came in for his second stop on lap 43, taking on another set of Hards, but he exceeded the pit lane speed limit on his way in, for which he was given a five-second penalty to add to his total race time. Carlos tried to extend his stint, but he and the team decided to come in for another set of Hard tyres on the next lap. In the closing stages, the SF-23 lost pace and Russell, with fresher tyres on his Mercedes, was able to pass Sainz for seventh and then got to within under five seconds of Leclerc, thus taking sixth place without having to pass him on track.
One more before the break. The championship is back in action immediately next week on the very different Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the Belgian Grand Prix, the final round before the summer break.
Carlos Sainz #55
We had a good start, making up five places on the first lap and a very good first stint with the Softs, managing to stretch the tyre life. Unfortunately, with the Hard compound and longer stints to do, we struggled with rear degradation and didn’t have the pace of the front runners, which is our main weakness at the moment.
We were expecting more on this track, and we need to look into our main areas of improvement.
Charles Leclerc #16
I was quite happy with my pace in the first stint, as we were managing things really well and keeping up with the cars ahead. Then we lost time on our first pit stop, which put us on the back foot, and I had to push to recover some positions. The penalty we got after the second stop was another thing that made things more difficult, so all in all, it wasn’t a great day.
I’m looking forward to Spa and hope that we can finish the first half of the season on a high there.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
Our result is rather poor today. It was a complicated race with Charles, chiefly because he lost around seven seconds at the pit stop, which was a massive delay because of an issue with a wheel gun. This also put him in traffic, and then there was also the 5-second pit lane speeding penalty.
With Carlos, we took the risk of starting him on Softs, and it was a good move in the early stages, as he made up places. But we knew it would be quite tricky for him as he would have to do a lot of tyre management, switching earlier to the Hard compound. However, starting eleventh and finishing where he did, ahead of Alonso, I’d say, was not too bad a result.
I have the feeling that we are not that far off the pace in terms of performance, but we did not put everything together over the whole weekend. We showed we had the potential on Friday but did not build on it for Saturday or today in the race. Now we really need to focus on Belgium because it is always important to go into the summer break with a good result, find more pace and minimise mistakes.