Despite commentators feeling Ferrari had delayed the call, team boss Mattia Binotto insists the Scuderia “waited for the right moment” to swap their drives around in Spain.
Ferrari issued team orders twice during Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, first in Charles Leclerc’s favour and then in Sebastian Vettel’s.
However, both times the call took several laps to make.
Leclerc was stuck behind Vettel in the opening stint after the German flat-spotted his right-front tyre.
With the gap to race leader Lewis Hamilton growing with every lap, Leclerc was some 11 seconds behind the Mercedes driver when Vettel eventually moved over for him.
Leclerc passes his team mate, taking P4 from Vettel
Seb immediately takes to the airwaves, asking for a tyre change…#F1 #SpanishGP ?? pic.twitter.com/qIxukvxETT
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 12, 2019
It was more of the same later in the race when Vettel, on the faster medium tyres, caught Leclerc, who was running the hard tyres.
Ferrari took almost 10 laps to order the Monaco driver to move over.
Binotto, though, insists they waited until the right time to make the call.
“Should have we swapped earlier? I think it is never an easy decision,” he said.
“We as a team are trying to optimism our performance and team result at the end.
“We’ve swapped in the past and tried to swap again today as they were on a different strategy at that stage.
“Should we have done it early?
“I think by the time you do it you need to know if the driver behind has the faster pace otherwise you are swapping and not having any result.
“It may take a few laps to assess that.
“On the other side Charles was fighting for third place with Verstappen because he was on a different strategy with the hard tyres, a single pit stop, so it was important for him not to lose any lap time at that stage of the race.
“We simply waited for the right moment and should we do it again, I am not sure if we should have done it earlier.”
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