Brundle: It’s going to feel like a long summer break in Maranello

Martin Brundle believes the summer break will feel very long at Maranello, home of Scuderia Ferrari who enter the Formula 1 holidays after another low point at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s initial target for Hungary was a one-two according to team boss Mattia Binotto, but the reality check the Reds received on Sunday afternoon in Budapest was harsh, as starting second and third, Carlos Sainz finished fourth while Charles Leclerc finished sixth.

Former F1 driver Martin Brundle and current respected pundit of the sport reflected on the race in Hungary in his Sky Sports F1 column, trying to find out how things went wrong for Ferrari.

Looking back on the race, Brundle did not get why Carlos Sainz was pitted – while on Mediums – right after George Russell who was on Softs did after 16 laps.

He said: “Perhaps curiously Sainz was called in a lap later to dispose of his medium compound tyres for another set of the same, as indeed did Ferrari team-mate Leclerc on lap 21, again for mediums.

“Under the rules unless it rained both drivers would be forced to pit again to use the mandatory second compound which restricted options to an extent,” he pointed out.

“Meanwhile the impressive Leclerc had been lapping faster on his old tyres and over-cut Sainz to take up the chase of Russell out front, who succumbed on lap 31. This appeared to be yet another race for Leclerc to win,” the Sky F1 pundit added.

Red Bull and Max Verstappen dictated Ferrari’s strategy

Brundle believes that a lot of the strategies up front during the race were dictated by the progress Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who started tenth after a power unit problem in qualifying.

“A lot of the pit stop activity was driven to cover off the recovering Verstappen as Red Bull forced the agenda by calling their man in on laps 16 and 38,” he said. “Max then delivering some blistering pace immediately after.

“He’d been struggling with a slipping clutch which some kind of voodoo sensor default setting on his steering wheel helped mitigate.

“Ferrari were still busy reacting and on lap 39 they pitted Leclerc,” Brundle claimed. “He either had to take soft tyres which wouldn’t last until the end of the race, or the hard compound tyres which had looked pretty dire on other cars.

“They fitted the hards and consigned Leclerc to P6 whilst sliding all over the place,” the 63-year-old highligted.

Ferrari messed up

Brundle believes that Ferrari cannot hide behind justifications saying: “The Ferrari team keep it tight and support each other on these reasonably frequent errors of late.

“But however you paint it they somehow navigated a fast car from second and third on the grid to finish fourth and sixth,” the Briton insisted.

“That was all compounded by surprisingly poor pace on the soft compound tyres on a cool day with constant spots of rain around, but the medium/medium strategy pitting for the second time a little over half distance made no sense.

“Nine races to go and Verstappen has an 80-point advantage which is greater than three victories combined with three fastest laps. Mercedes are now only 30 points behind Ferrari in the Constructors’ table too,” Brundle warned.

“So it’s going to feel like a very long summer break in Maranello,” the veteran of 158 grands prix concluded.