Nico Rosberg has urged Mattia Binotto to make “serious changes” at Ferrari after a strategy debacle that cost Carlos Sainz a podium finish in France.
With Charles Leclerc in the other F1-75 having crashed out from the lead of the French Grand Prix, the onus was on Sainz to bring home as many points as possible for the Scuderia – not an easy task considering he started 19th after incurring an engine penalty.
But the Spaniard made strong progress through the field and found himself challenging Sergio Perez’s Red Bull for third place, with the eventual first two home, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, further up the road.
Although he had good pace, the problem for Sainz was his medium tyres were starting to wear out and it was uncertain whether they would last for the remaining 11 laps of Circuit Paul Ricard.
A discussion was heard over the team radio between the driver and his race engineer just as he was preparing a move on Perez, with Sainz initially keen to make a pit-stop only to be told to “stay out”.
However, as he was executing the overtake, a radio message was played telling the 27-year-old to “box”, with the exasperated response understandably being “not now, not now”. In fairness, the broadcast of the radio message was probably subject to a slight time delay.
But after passing Perez, a lap later Sainz was told to come into the pits and, also having to serve a five-second penalty for an earlier unsafe release, he dropped down the order before eventually recovering to finish fifth.
The radio messages between Carlos Sainz and the Ferrari pit wall today.
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Rosberg, speaking on Sky F1, was mystified by the latest Ferrari blunder in a season when some of their decisions have been baffling, most notably Leclerc having his victory chances thwarted in both Monaco and Britain.
“I was shaking my head, like ‘what on earth are they doing there?’,” said Rosberg.
“First of all, he was in the middle of a huge battle out on track and his whole team wasn’t watching that anymore, they had their heads down doing their calculations about pit-stop times and they were talking to him in the middle of the wheel-to-wheel action there.
“I’m like ‘guys, what on earth are you doing?’
“And then Carlos is P3 and comfortably he would have been able to stay there, the tyres would have been fine until…