Binotto denies Leclerc’s mistake was because of pressure

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc in the pits for a nose cone change. Imola April 2022

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in the pits for a nose cone change after hitting the barrier. Imola April 2022

Mattia Binotto has been quick to rubbish suggestions that Charles Leclerc’s Imola mistake had anything “to do with pressure”.

Instead, he says, this year’s car with their stiffer suspensions are harder to control if a driver mounts a kerb.

Having lost positions off the line at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Leclerc set about first passing Lando Norris and then hunting down the Red Bulls.

That was harder than expected given the Race Director opted against enabling DRS until midway through the race.

Trailing Sergio Perez by over two seconds, Ferrari rolled the dice and pitted Leclerc on lap 50 for soft tyres with Red Bull responding to that by pitting Perez a lap later.

The undercut, though, allowed Leclerc to close the gap to Perez and push hard to get within DRS range of the Mexican driver, he overcooked it at the Variante Alta chicane.

Mounting the kerb, Leclerc landed heavily before sliding nose-first into the barrier.

Ferrari fans can be forgiven for fearing that this was the first sign of a crack in their championship leader as it wouldn’t be the first time in recent years that a Ferrari driver has seemingly buckled under the pressure, just look back to Sebastian Vettel in 2017 and 2018.

Binotto, though, has been quick to defend his driver.

Speaking to Auto Motor und Sport, he said “The mistake had nothing to do with pressure.

“Racing drivers are used to driving at the limit. The cars have harder suspension this year. If you get too high on the kerb, you can lose the car.”

The team boss was also questioned about Ferrari’s decision to pit Leclerc for softs, pundits such as Ralf Schumacher saying they should have settled for third place and the 15 points.

Instead Leclerc walked away only eight points and saw his lead in the Drivers’ standings reduced to 27 points ahead of race winner Max Verstappen.

Binotto sees no need to apologise for Ferrari wanting second.

“We didn’t aim for the extra point for the fastest lap, but for second place,” he said.

The team boss told Pitpass that he doesn’t blame the driver at all.


“There will be never regret to ask a driver to push,” he said. “That is part of our job. It’s part of their job, to try and drive to the limit. Obviously mistakes may happen.”


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