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Carlos Sainz blamed for Charles Leclerc’s Monaco Grand Prix disaster

Sainz has been slammed for “deciding the strategy on his own” and contributing to the pit stop mix-up which caused Leclerc to fall from first to fourth at his home race

Carlos Sainz finished second in Monaco, but was slammed by sections of the Italian media for being ‘selfish’

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Carlos Sainz has been blamed for the Ferrari strategy error which cost Charles Leclerc the chance to win the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Monegasque racer looked set to finally deliver victory in front of an adoring home crowd on Sunday after qualifying on pole the previous day. As he led the race it looked even more likely, but a disastrous pit stop decision saw him lose the lead and the chance to finally break his Monte Carlo duck.

Leclerc made a pit stop to change onto intermediate tyres, and just three laps later received another call to stop – this time for slicks as the track dried out. His panicking race engineer then yelled for him to stay out, but he had already entered the pit lane and had to double stack behind Sainz who was also being fitted with fresh rubber.

The delay caused Leclerc to fall behind both Red Bull cars and he came back out of the pits in fourth. To make matters worse for Ferrari, Sergio Perez had successfully undercut Sainz to take the lead and went on to win the race, spoiling the Prancing Horse’s party.

On the face of it, the problem seemed to have been caused by a miscommunication over when Leclerc was supposed to come into the pits. However, one renowned Italian reporter has slammed Sainz for his role in the gaffe, accusing the Spaniard of being selfish and choosing not to help his team-mate to victory.

“Sainz decided the strategy on his own,” wrote Giorgio Terruzzi in the print edition of Corriere della Sera . “These are choices on which the feelings of the drivers weigh a lot. The fact is that Carlos was not racing to win but to protect Leclerc. He smelled the opportunity he has always been waiting for, he wanted to dare, he thought he should have won.

A pit stop disaster cost Charles Leclerc the chance to win in Monaco
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Image:

REUTERS)

“Instead, his move sent everyone on a tilt where tactics are decided, without even bringing home the consolation of seeing the second Ferrari driver on the top step of the podium. Therefore, it was a misinterpretation of the driver. Not so much on the tyres but on his role within Ferrari, in a season that is entirely on Leclerc’s shoulders.”

Terruzzi did concede that the panic from the team over Leclerc’s radio contributed and “would have made a sloth lose its nerves”, but laid much of the blame at Sainz’s feet.

“Carlos was not very useful to Ferrari,” he added. “He finished P2. But behind Perez, not exactly a strategic masterpiece. And he was the one who decided the strategy.”

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