Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has revealed that he decided to give his engineers a near-heart attack on the final lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc returned Ferrari to Formula 1’s winning circle on Sunday in Bahrain, having successfully seen off a strong challenge from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen before the reigning World Champion’s late technical issues.
With Leclerc leading home a Ferrari 1-2, as Carlos Sainz inherited second following Verstappen’s issues, the Monegasque driver revealed afterwards that he decided to play a prank on his team in the closing stages of the race.
Having been cruelly denied a maiden Ferrari victory at the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix after a late engine issue on his car, Charles Leclerc said he harkened back to that day by getting on the radio to his engineer.
“I did a bit of a joke on the radio on the last lap, saying that there was something strange with the engine,” he told media after the race.
“That gave a heart attack to some of the engineers, I’m sure, but everything was fine! [I’m] very happy that this time we brought it home.”
Why didn’t Leclerc cover Verstappen’s final stop?
Until the Safety Car intervention, it appeared like the final stages of the race could have provided a thriller, as Red Bull opted for a third stop with Verstappen – a tyre change that Ferrari didn’t emulate.
Asked why Ferrari hadn’t opted to cover off the stop, to ensure no strategic element might be their downfall, Leclerc said he had confidence in the team’s decision-making.
“I felt quite nice at that point with my tyres, to go to the end, but obviously when I saw that they [Red Bull] would pit, I was a bit concerned,” he commented.
“That’s why I made my thoughts clear to the team, that maybe it will have been good to just cover him and stay in front, and have our race like this, a bit on the safer side, but after they told me that we had to stay out, I just agreed.
“They have so much more data than I do in the car. If they were confident to do so, it gave me the confidence to also just get on with my work, and bring the car home at the end.
“I just wanted to make sure that they questioned all the scenarios before we took a decision.”
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