Carlos Sainz over-estimated his importance at the Monaco GP with F1 journalist Giorgio Terruzzi saying his job was to help Charles Leclerc, not go for the win.
In the end neither Ferrari driver stood on the top step of the podium.
After years of misery at his home grand prix, Sunday was supposed to be Leclerc’s redemption day with the championship hopeful lining up on pole position ahead of his team-mate.
It went horribly wrong for the Monégasque driver when he made two pit stops in the space of three laps, first for intermediates and then for slicks where he had to double-stack behind Sainz.
That dropped him behind both Red Bulls and his team-mate, who earlier had refused to stop for intermediates, which could have possibly covered Sergio Perez, instead holding on until it was dry enough to swap straight to slicks.
Perez got the jump on them all, racing to the victory ahead of Sainz and Max Verstappen with Leclerc off the podium in fourth place.
“Sainz decided the strategy on his own,” Terruzzi wrote in Corriere della Sera. “These are choices on which the feelings of the drivers weigh a lot.
“The fact is that Carlos was not racing to win but to protect Leclerc.
“He smelled the opportunity he has always been waiting for, he wanted to dare, he thought he should have won.
“Instead, his move sent everyone on a tilt where tactics are decided, without even bringing home the consolation of seeing the second Ferrari driver on the top step of the podium.
“Therefore, it was a misinterpretation of the driver. Not so much on the tyres but on his role within Ferrari, in a season that is entirely on Leclerc’s shoulders.”
But Sainz, Terruzzi says, wasn’t the only one at Ferrari to make a huge mistake.
“It was not only Sainz who made a mistake, mind you. The double command told to Charles offered the measure of the distress at the Ferrari pit wall, that would have made a sloth lose its nerves.”
Terruzzi believes Leclerc has the pace to win the grand prix, but was “penalised by a bad strategy during a perfect weekend so far. He was the best on track.
“In the standings now it’s a bit of a mess though,” he added. “He deserved more.
“Carlos was not very useful to Ferrari. He finished P2. But behind Perez, not exactly a strategic masterpiece. And he was the one who decided the strategy.”
Sunday’s result means Leclerc’s deficit in the Drivers’ Championship grew to nine points, the Ferrari driver having led by as much as 34 after his Australian Grand Prix win.
Red Bull’s run of four successive wins mean they have taken a 34-point lead over Ferrari in the Constructors’ standings.
Additional reporting from Luca Brambilla
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