Charles Leclerc could not have overtaken Max Verstappen during the race at Imola, but in the pursuit of Sergio Perez the Monegask made a serious mistake. Peter Windsor points to the out laps after the second tire change as a key moment in the race.
Out lapse Verstappen, Leclerc and Perez
Verstappen led the race with a large lead. Far behind him were teammate Perez and rival Charles Leclerc. The Ferrari driver managed to stay close to the Red Bull driver on the drying track, but was unable to pass. The Italian team decided to bring in Leclerc for the red soft tire, in order to also push Red Bull into a situation where they had to react. It looked as if the undercut on Perez succeeded, but on the same lap that Perez had made his stop, he also took P2 back on the Ferrari driver. Then Leclerc made a serious mistake, which meant that he lost his podium spot.
Windsor analyzes the race in a YouTube-video and points to the out laps of Leclerc, Perez and Verstappen after the tire changes as a key moment in the race. Leclerc drove a 1:19.2 in his out lap and set a time of 1:18.8 in the lap after. Perez was a lot faster and his first fast lap was a 1:18.9. windsor: “Interestingly, Max Verstappen drove a 1:21.1 on lap two. That to me is an indication that he still felt the new tires and maybe had a moment.” In that same lap of Verstappen, Leclerc hit the wet curb and spun.
Classic Leclerc Fault
Windsor compares the two title rivals: “That’s a moment where you could say Charles was acting a little crazy and Verstappen was the absolute driver in control.” Verstappen had a good margin over Leclerc and his teammate was still in between, so the Dutchman could afford to take his time. Windsor concludes: “He [Leclerc] doesn’t often make mistakes like this in the race, but it’s a classic Leclerc mistake nonetheless. He generally uses a lot of the Kerbstone.” In the cooldown room after the race we saw footage of Verstappen and Lando Norris watching their competitor’s crash. The two chuckled, and Norris said he hadn’t even gone over the curb in the Variante Alta during the race.