CHARLES LECLERC now lies 80 points behind Max Verstappen in the championship after a series of errors over the first half of the season.
F1: Leclerc says Ferrari career has 'exceeded expectations'
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Mattia Binotto has defended his Ferrari team members despite calls for the Scuderia to fire staff amid strategy blunders in their championship fight with Max Verstappen. Binotto said the team has made as many right calls as bad ones this season despite pundits slamming many of the team’s decisions.
The team boss claimed his entire team was “great” and admitted he still had “trust” in the squad. He told Sky Sports F1: “I’m looking at the overall balance of the season, and we made the right strategy in France, we got it right in Austria, as in many times we made it right.
“Sometimes you make a mistake, sometimes the others are doing mistakes; maybe we are not on the line so much. It’s not only Inaki [Rueda, Ferrari chief strategist], the entire team is great.
“I am fully supporting them, because I trust them.” Ferrari have cost Charles Leclerc vital points in his pursuit of Verstappen in the world championship battle because of their odd calls.
Leclerc lost the lead at his home Monaco Grand Prix after Ferrari pitted him later than Carlos Sainz amid confused team radio messages.
READ MORE: Mattia Binotto disagrees with angry Charles Leclerc after ‘disaster’
Mattia Binotto has defended his Ferrari team despite strategy errors (Image: Getty)
The Prancing Horse also messed up his strategy at the British Grand Prix which saw him drop to outside the podium places on a day Verstapem suffered issues. Former world champion Nico Rosberg has been one of the most vocal voices in calling for Ferrari to make changes to their team.
Speaking after a Ferrari decision cost Sainz a possible podium at the French Grand Prix, Rosberg commented: “What on earth is going on there? Really, I think it’s time they made some changes there, some serious changes. Taking the pit stop and not racing until the end and then having the penalty added on.
“Terrible judgement there, terrible. I can’t explain it. Mattia really needs to get on top of that and make some serious changes I think there now.”
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Charles Leclerc is 80 points behind Max Verstappen in the championship (Image: Getty)
Leclerc also lost points in Hungary after Ferrari stopped the Monegasque for hard tyres only to pit again for softs. It dropped Leclerc down to sixth despite looking capable of challenging for a win earlier on in the afternoon.
Johnny Herbert also called for Binotto to solve the crisis quickly as he branded their Hungarian GP meltdown as “embarrassing”. He explained: “They’ve got to get the right people in to allow them to do what Red Bull does and what Mercedes does. They need to sort it out quickly.
“When you’ve got a car that can win races and you are just giving away these race wins or maximum points that should be coming your way, it’s embarrassing.”
Ralf Schumacher has even suggested Binotto could face the chop himself before the season resumes at Spa.
He added: “I already see him [Binotto] in danger during the summer break. There are too many little things that went wrong and there are too many technical problems. When you get a gift like that, to be able to race for the world championship again, and you jeopardise it like that and throw it away, it is very wry.”