Binotto clarifies Leclerc throttle comments and explains Ferrari's Sainz pit stop decision

·2-min read

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has clarified Charles Leclerc's concerns about the throttle following his crash from the lead at the French Grand Prix.

Leclerc was ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen when he lost the rear tyre and collided with the wall, suffering a third retirement of the season while in a leading position.

The Monegasque driver took responsibility for the incident with his post-race comments but had raised queries on the reason for the crash with remarks over the team radio, where he complained about the throttle.

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Ferrari have suffered with throttle problems already this season and Leclerc's comments raised concerns they had emerged again in Sunday's race, but Binotto explained the reason for the comments from his driver.

"It was a mistake, it happens, as we have made reliability issues. I said to Charles, we make life a bit more difficult, but he's feeling better and we will enjoy more in the future," he told Sky Sports.

"It was a genuine driver error. The throttle, it was when he was in the barrier and tried to put it into reverse.

"Without going into details, he felt that the torque of the engine was not responding to the throttle, but it was nothing to do with the mistake.

"There is always something to improve. Step by step, I think we are progressing and becoming better. Today, we've proved that we have a fast car and a very competitive one.

"We're looking now to Hungary. We can do a one-two there, why not? So we simply focus on the next result."

Ferrari also faced scrutiny behind the decision to call Carlos Sainz in for a second pit stop, with the initial radio call coming as he overtook Sergio Perez for third place, but Binotto remained adamant it was the correct call.

"We don't feel it was the right choice, we're pretty sure it was the right choice. At the time, he was short on life with wear on the tyres so it would have been really risky to go to the end," he explained.

"We don't think he would have had the pace to fight second because he had the five-second penalty. By stopping, he did the fastest lap which was certainly a point, so I think it was the safest and the right decision to take.

"I don't think it cost us a pace. If he had stayed out, I don't think he would have opened the gap to the guy behind, so we don't think he would have had sufficient time."