Image via @F1
Image via @F1
Although Ferrari added to its team-mate troubles at the Singapore Grand Prix, team boss Mattia Binotto says he made the “right choice” handing Sebastian Vettel the race win.
Charles Leclerc started the Singapore Grand Prix from pole position, lining up on the grid ahead of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and his own team-mate, Vettel.
It was the driver from Monaco who had the early advantage while Vettel ran third on the track.
While it is often the lead driver who gets the preferential strategy, Ferrari’s decision to pit Vettel early at the Marina Bay circuit handed the German the advantage.
He not only undercut Hamilton but also Leclerc with the latter voicing his frustration over the radio.
Leclerc wanted Ferrari to order Vettel to give him back the lead with the Scuderia refusing to do so.
Binotto has told Autosport he still stands by his decision.
“He has been uncomfortable with the car at the start of the season, certainly with the braking instability,” he said.
“I think the challenge [of Leclerc] for him has been a good benchmark as well because having such a fast team-mate gave him some headaches.
“In order to improve himself, he’s always very analytic. He approaches the exercise, he’s not emotional in that respect, he’s looking at the data, to compare the sectors, looking where he’s eventually slower or faster.
“In the first part of the season, he has been put under a lot of pressure. I think he reacted very well in the second half.
“The victory in Singapore has been key for him, not only for the victory itself but the trust in the team.
“He knew that he could count on the team for help, if necessary.
“But I think it was right, it was the right choice and time to let him win.”
At the end of a season in which Ferrari got just about everything wrong from the car to strategies, Binotto was delighted with Vettel’s performances in the second half of the campaign.
Although the German lost to Leclerc in the number of wins, one to two, and in the Drivers’ Championship points and qualifying stats, the Italian reckons Vettel should good fight after the summer break.
“When he had a lot of overall confidence in the car, I think he has been very fast,” said Binotto.
“And if you look at his race pace he is very similar to Charles, who has been faster in qualy instead.
“So I think I would say, well done to him for the second part of the season – well done for the way he reacted after a not easy first half of the season.”
Vettel will remain with Ferrari for the 2020 season despite continued reports that the four-time World Champion is considering retiring from the sport.