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Leclerc disputes Binotto weather-hit performance claim

Leclerc disputes Binotto weather-hit performance claim

Leclerc disputes Binotto weather-hit performance claim

Leclerc disputes Binotto weather-hit performance claim

Charles Leclerc has disputed a suggestion from Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto that his failure to win the Hungarian Grand Prix was due to a lack of performance on all tyres.

Leclerc appeared to be on course for victory at the Hungaroring when he passed the Mercedes of George Russell for the lead on lap 31.

But Ferrari's decision to cover off a Max Verstappen pit stop eight laps later and place Leclerc on hard tyres spectacularly backfired despite obvious evidence the rubber did not work, as experienced by Haas' Kevin Magnussen and Alpine duo Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.

The Scuderia kept Leclerc out on the compound for 15 laps before calling him in for a third stop to finish the race on a set of softs.

Post-race, Binotto said that across all compounds "the performance of our car was not as we expected", primarily due to the much-cooler weather conditions compared to the heat experienced in Friday practice.

Asked if Ferrari had been caught out by the cool climes, Leclerc said: "I don't think so because the pace was very good on the medium tyre [used in the first and second stint]. That was strong, it was really good.

"But then on the hard, obviously, we lost all the pace. We did one stop more than everybody, losing 20 seconds, plus the five or six laps on the hard [it was 15] where we lost a second per lap. This is a lot of race time.

"The second stint should have been longer. The first was the right moment to stop and we made the right choice there, but in the second stint, I don't know why we cut it short and went on the hard."

Pointed out to him Ferrari was covering off Verstappen's stop, Leclerc also expressed surprise at such a call.

"Yeah, and I'm pretty sure this was his code, to put us under pressure," assessed Leclerc.

"But I don't think we should have reacted to that because then it was a snowball effect for us and we lost a lot more than we should have."

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