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Ferrari defends virtual safety car pit strategy

NEWS STORY
09/05/2022

Ferrari has defended its decision not to pit its drivers during the Miami Grand Prix' VSC period, a decision that Christian Horner describes as being "lucky" for his team.

At the precise moment the virtual safety car was deployed in the wake of Lando Norris' clash with Pierre Gasly, race leader Max Verstappen had just passed the pit lane entrance.

However, the Ferraris behind hadn't.

Speaking after the race, Christian Horner admitted that Ferrari's decision not to pit one or both of its drivers and switch them to softs for the final stint probably cost the Maranello outfit the race.

"We got lucky," he told Sky Sports. "Max had crossed the pit line while it was a VSC. Then your worst nightmare... it went full Safety Car and that gives Leclerc and Sainz a free stop.

Thankfully they missed it with both of their cars," her continued, "so we were effectively still on the same strategy, or they would have had a significant advantage.

"We were let off the hook by Ferrari just through timing," he admitted. "They could have put a soft on and they had a free stop.

"That's the frustrating thing. You just don't know when it's going from a virtual to a full and that's your risk at the front of the field. Thankfully it was all neutralised."

"I would have lost position to Checo," said Carlos Sainz of the decision not to pit. "You want to keep track position, especially if you're on the podium, you want to keep that position.

"Our alternative was I use soft or a new hard, which for me, both of them were not good enough for 10-12 laps to go.

"So we were better off staying out on a used hard, which I think was the right call because in the end we managed to keep him behind."

"We believe that, in terms of format, our used tyres would have been stronger to a new one," agreed team boss, Mattia Binotto. "So we decided simply to stay out because we believe that was the best chance for us to have a good warm up and try to attack in those first laps, which is what happened."

"I was not very happy when the safety car came out," admitted Max Verstappen, "but these things happen and they have helped me in the past in some races so you can't complain.

"In the restart we went for it again," he continued. "Initially I was struggling with cold tyres, I didn't have the grip, but as soon as they came up to temperature I could pull away a little bit."

"Once Charles was in the DRS we couldn't shake him off," added Horner, "and for Max, it is so much pressure in that position. It is easy to just lock a wheel, but he kept it clean and didn't make any mistakes.

"Then it took five or six laps to break the DRS and he was able to manage it from there. The problem was the DRS was so powerful, they were able to close in on that first section and then we couldn't drop them on the rest of the lap.

"Finally I think Charles had a little moment and Max was able to use it and broke the DRS and was able to build a lead."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Miami, here.

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1. Posted by ToeKnee, 09/05/2022 16:48

"As I yelled at my TV at the time. Exactly what Christian was saying. Put on reds, not yellows. At least Sainz!! Ferrari can make no decisions on the fly. Everything scripted must happen that way. Very, very frustration having the current race leadership. For God’s sake adjust."

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