The United States Grand Prix was very busy and fraught with controversy within the track. It was a very good race to watch, full of tricks from talented F1 drivers who delivered an absolutely thrilling race, but it was another disappointing weekend for the Ferrari fan.
It’s true that Carlos Sainz achieved the expected pole position with practically perfect laps. But in the end, the race ended following a pattern that affected DeFosi…
Sainz retired touching the first corner, while Leclerc, who had had an encouraging weekend, managed at most a stage in which he could not even threaten second place. Of course, when you start in 11th place and finish in 3rd place, in terms of result, it is very good. But Monegasque could have achieved even more had it not been for the tire degradation problem.
Back to the signs: although the crash was entirely Russell’s fault (the Englishman himself admitted), it left the impression that the driver of car #55 could have done better, not just at the start – he’s the one who starts. P2 in Austin – as well as more skill during the first corner. Sometimes it’s better to position yourself so that you lose a few positions
When it comes to performance, it must be recognized that it is difficult to compete against Red Bull, who have an exceptional car with a fantastic driver. Even on a track where degradation was an issue for the RB18, they suffered less than expected and were able to gain the speed they needed to win. This graphic by Italian website Formula Fashion explains a little about it:
On the other hand, this was not the case at Leclerc. The driver of car #16 had a brilliant recovery race, making great passes – one of them over Perez with very little space left by the Mexican. His pace was incredible and Ferrari saw a dream there fighting for victory against Hamilton and Verstappen. The scenario was only possible a few laps after the pit stop: Leclerc was able to get behind Verstappen and chase him down, but quickly ran out of tires and had to make slow laps to cool the medium compound and protect his podium place.
In short, the feeling left with this race is that if this race scenario played out with the cars at the start of the season, Leclerc would have been very likely to win, but the pace would have meant nothing. Management is not there. It is impossible to win in F1 today without tire management doing a good job.
Anyway, looking ahead to 2023, that’s what Ferrari needs to focus on: tire degradation. Although the car is fast and balanced, it does so without being overly aggressive to the tires. This season, Verstappen and Red Bull haven’t had much to do with the already champion, but it’s time to take advantage of everything they can’t do again next season.
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