Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix fourth and fifth respectively, on a day where Ferrari nailed their strategy following a disappointing Qualifying.
Leclerc and Sainz took a fourth and fifth place finish at the checkered flag, respectively, as they made up a plethora of places, just as promised after Saturday’s disastrous qualifying session. Leclerc started from P10, with Sainz behind in P11, as a grid penalty was forced upon the latter for impeding another driver in qualifying.
By Lap 12, the safety car was out, and various teams and drivers opted for a pit stop, while Ferrari opted to keep both drivers out, leaving Leclerc in fourth, and Sainz in fifth. A pit stop wouldn’t come for the Scuderia until Lap 38, as the Spaniard came in for a fresh set of Hard tyres, while his teammate stopped a lap later, rejoining the race still fourth and fifth.
While Ferrari’s decision not to pit under the safety car seemed bizarre at first, given their chronic tyre degradation issues, the team apparently made an inspired call, as the medium tyres that both of the Red cars started on, held up well to make the strategy work in the end.
Both Ferrari drivers held their positions until the end of the race, thus giving the team a much needed boost of confidence going forward in the season, because for the first time in quite a while, the SF-23’s race pace was actually decent throughout the 70 laps around Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve.
However, their strategy blunder in qualifying, meant that it was a case of what could’ve been for the Reds on Sunday.
Leclerc: We did a good job
Speaking to Sky Sports TV after the race, Leclerc said: “Considering where we started from it was the best we could have done today. We did a good job.
“The good feeling I had on Friday in the race simulations was confirmed today. The compounds we used, we were quite competitive with. So some positives to take,” he added.
“Overall performance,” was the Monegasque’s response when asked where Ferrari should improve. “We were really struggling early in the season with consistency. That was difficult to understand. I went in a different direction this weekend with setup and felt a bit more at ease so I had a bit more consistency with the compounds.”
Leclerc, for once agreed with his team’s strategy, he said: “The feeling was really good straight from the start. I had a DRS train with Lando in front. I felt quicker but he had DRS, so I couldn’t overtake.
“It was definitely right to do the opposite to Lando in order to have free air,” the Ferrari ace concluded.
Sainz: We nailed the strategy
Sainz lamented his post-qualifying penalty, as his race performance meant he could’ve achieved a better result otherwise.
“It’s a pity about quali yesterday because I think we could have been in the mix with Aston Martin,” he told Sky Sports TV. “We will try and be better next time but at least today the feeling with the car today was good.
“We nailed the strategy today. We are making progress but out competitiveness depends circuit by circuit. Coming here we knew we would be stronger because of the layout. Let’s see when we go to Austria how everything feels.
“So, at least here we were definitely one step ahead than Barcelona,” the Spaniard concluded.
Speaking in Ferrari’s post-race report, Team Principal Frederic Vasseur, summed up his team’s race; he said: “It was a good race for us, confirming that we are working in the right direction.
“After a poor qualifying yesterday, we rediscovered the race pace we had seen on Friday, helped in this by a good strategy that took us out of traffic, so that Charles and Carlos had the confidence to push throughout the race,” the Frenchman added.
“It was notable that in the second half our drivers were matching the lap times of the top three. We are progressing race by race. We will continue to focus on working solidly on the course we have set ourselves, while going into every small detail to ensure we can have a perfect weekend from Friday through to Sunday,” Vasseur maintained.