Button casts doubt on Leclerc’s answer over Binotto chat

Sam Cooper
Mattia Binotto speaking with Charles Leclerc at the back of the garage. Monaco May 2022

Charles Leclerc said a finger-wagging meeting between he and team boss Mattia Binotto was all good-natured – but Jenson Button was not so sure.

Throughout the British Grand Prix, Leclerc was becoming increasingly frustrated with his team’s decision not to let him overtake team-mate Carlos Sainz.

When the two were allowed to fight, Leclerc sailed past but it was Sainz who went on to win, his first race victory in his F1 career, after another botched pit-stop strategy from the team.

After the race, Leclerc looked as if he had received a telling-off from Ferrari team boss Binotto but later played down the incident, claiming Binotto was trying to “cheer me up and that’s it”.

“I had the old hard tyres and obviously everybody around was on softs, so I was struggling massively,” he told reporters.

“At the end I gave my absolute best, but it wasn’t enough and it’s obviously disappointing.

“He [Binotto] wanted to cheer me up and that’s it.

“We’ll have to look at the global picture. I only have my picture of my race and in the car sometimes you don’t have the full picture.

“On my side, I feel like I’ve lost a little bit too much time in the first stint and especially in the first part of the second stint, but this is only my view and it might change once I see the full picture.”

Speaking on Sky Sports F1 after hearing Leclerc’s interview, Button doubted how truthful his answer was, joking that “I always cheer my friends up with a good finger wag.”

“It’s a tough race for him,” Button said. “He broke his wing on the first lap of the race in turn four with Checo, but he had good pace still.

“He was pushing his team-mate round and in the end they swapped them over, gave him the lead, but the bad pitstop call at the end there with the Safety Car. It’s happened again, there’s the same thing in Monaco. So it’s tricky. I don’t know whose decision it was but obviously that cost him the victory.”

Leclerc did look past his personal disappointment to congratulate his team-mate on his maiden race win.

“I don’t want the focus to be pointed towards my disappointing race but more towards his incredible race win and obviously a first win in Formula 1 is always extremely special. It’s great for the team, is great for Carlos. He kept building confidence in the last few races and today he has shown it so obviously very happy for him.”