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Ferrari's true pace REVEALED by F1 expert after Canadian GP

Ferrari's true pace REVEALED by F1 expert after Canadian GP

Ferrari's true pace REVEALED by F1 expert after Canadian GP

Shubham Sangodkar
Ferrari's true pace REVEALED by F1 expert after Canadian GP

Ferrari are no stranger to being trolled for their strategy flops. This season alone, they have made plenty of strategic blunders.

They famously blundered in Monaco, and again in Canadian Grand Prix qualifying where you could see Charles Leclerc hitting his steering wheel in anger. However, come Sunday, Ferrari were able to react differently to the safety car which completely changed the race for them.

Race Start

Both Leclerc and Carlos Sainz started on the medium and had a clean start, but were stuck behind Lando Norris and Alex Albon respectively, both of whom were very difficult to pass.

They both tried to overtake in vain until lap 11, thanks to some brilliant defensive driving and the advantage of a DRS train.

When the first safety car was introduced due to George Russell's heavy impact, considering that it was a likely two-stop race, pitting under the safety car was the most obvious strategy decision as you lose only about half the time as a normal pitstop. However, Ferrari decided against that. Why?

First Safety Car Decision

Indeed, almost everyone around them pitted, including the drivers in front – namely Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, Oscar Piastri, Norris and Albon. This made the Ferraris P4 and P5 on the track before normal racing resumed. The reason was they knew they had the race pace advantage over all of them.

Friday’s practice session had hinted that Ferrari possibly had the second best race pace, which is why they took the gamble – knowing they weren't likely to challenge the three cars ahead of them anyway.

READ MORE: Jean Todt: Ferrari great and partner of Michelle Yeoh

Making the Mediums Work

After staying out and not deciding to pit, Ferrari knew that to keep these positions, they had to effectively convert the race into a one stop strategy. There were indications that the tyre degradation was not as high as expected from Friday's data. The track temperature was lower than Friday, and thus the tyre degradation was not as extreme.

Another important factor to make the mediums work was teamwork. If Sainz had started attacking Leclerc, then both of them may have run out of grip quickly. Team orders kicked in, and the management game began from lap 11 to 40.

From the plot below you can see the Ferraris, in clean air and on used medium tyres, were able to set lap times similar to Lewis Hamilton on the hard until they eventually pitted for the hard compound themselves on lap 40.

They were also much faster than Albon and Ocon on fresh hard tyres from lap 11 to 40, and that stint is what made them secure their positions.

What was even more impressive is that even with this strategy, they were able to finish ahead of Sergio Perez, hinting at some exciting racing in the next races.

Shubham Sangodkar is a former F1 Aerodynamicist with a Master's in Racing Car Design specialising in F1 Aerodynamics and F1 Data Analysis. He also posts aerodynamics content on his YouTube channel, which can be found here.

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