Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle believes there will be some “tense meetings” at Ferrari following their bittersweet Monaco Grand Prix.
While Ferrari were in the mix at the sharp end of the timesheets all weekend in Monte Carlo and Carlos Sainz bagged his first podium finish in Scuderia red, there was still a big case of what could have been given the heartbreaking end to Charles Leclerc’s weekend.
While Leclerc secured pole position for his home Grand Prix, he did so with a late crash on the exit of Swimming Pool and the timing of it ensured nobody could knock him off top spot with only seconds remaining in the Q3 session.
However, Leclerc’s pole position celebrations were particularly muted due to concerns over whether the gearbox would need to be changed due to the impact of the crash. That would have resulted in a grid penalty.
Ferrari gave not one, but two all-clear notices relating to the gearbox but, on his way to the grid, Leclerc noticed a problem and it was game over for him, forced then to watch on from sidelines.
But the problem was related to the left driveshaft and there was initial confusion as to whether that issue was related to Leclerc’s qualifying crash. On Monday night, Ferrari confirmed the two events were related.
That, according to Brundle, is going to lead to some tense debriefs as the team get to the bottom of whether the car was fully checked over.
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) May 23, 2021
“This was a chance for the young Monegasque to win his home Grand Prix in a Ferrari on the very roads he used to take the bus to school,” Brundle wrote in his Sky F1 column.
“He would have been thoroughly hurting on Monday morning especially as he can never know if and when such a chance will materialise again.
“Much of the Ferrari hierarchy were in attendance as Leclerc’s car failed on his out lap to the grid, and there will be tense meetings this week as to the decision-making process and how the problem was missed pre-race.
“Almost always when a car hits the barriers reasonably hard, especially at a 90-degree angle across the rear axle, it needs a new transmission and the resultant five-place grid drop.
“Ferrari rolled the dice by not changing all the drivetrain and lost. It appears that something on the left-hand side had also been damaged in the heavy right-side contact.”
While there is lots of doom and gloom on Leclerc’s side of the garage, Brundle liked what he saw from Sainz as he rose to the challenge of salvaging something from the weekend for his new team.
He continued: “Carlos Sainz carried all the expectations of Ferrari on his shoulders and delivered a very mature second place nine seconds behind Verstappen despite some tyre graining issues.
“The young Spaniard was on form throughout and deserved this glory even though he felt it was a wasted opportunity for pole position and victory. I like that mentality.”