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Wet and Wild: Ferrari’s Misadventures at the British GP Create a Nightmare in the Rain for Leclerc

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone had more than its share of surprises which upended somewhat the expectations of the new fierce competition between Red Bull and McLaren. Prior to Silverstone, McLaren had turned heads as the new challenger to Red Bull. Now it’s Mercedes turn. Back to back wins in Austria and the British GP in Silverstone!

It was a strong showing by the British at their home Grand Prix in the UK. For Lewis Hamilton it is a ray of sunshine indeed. Arguably the greatest driver of modern times Hamilton has been denied victory since 2021, leading the way to a new alignment at the top of Formula 1, with Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and now Lando Norris. But “Party time” again for Hamilton and Mercedes after this win

Lewis thrilled the crowd by winning the local crown the ninth time. The Mercedes driver took the win in Silverstone in wet conditions with championship leader Max Verstappen, driving for Red Bull, in second and the other British driver, McLaren’s Lando Norris in third.

What about the Prancing Horse though? After Charles Leclerc’s fantastic win at the Monaco Grand Prix, Ferrari have been in the doldrums. What is going on?

Ferrari Faces Challenges at Silverstone

The British Grand Prix qualifying session at Silverstone proved to be a tough battle for Ferrari, with both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz grappling with car issues that left them struggling for pace. The decision to revert to the Imola-spec SF-24, abandoning the recent upgrades introduced in Spain, highlighted the team’s ongoing difficulties in finding a competitive setup.

Leclerc, who failed to make it past Q2 and started 11th, expressed frustration over the car’s lack of speed and inconsistency. “We are just really slow at the moment,” he admitted, pointing to the challenges Ferrari has faced in recent races. Since their strong showing in Monaco, the team has seen a decline in performance, exacerbated by bouncing issues with the car.

Sainz, managing to secure P7, echoed these sentiments, noting that the back-to-back testing of different configurations during practice sessions had come at the expense of optimizing their weekend performance. “We’re paying the price today,” Leclerc remarked, acknowledging that while the data gathered could be beneficial in the long run, it had left them vulnerable in the immediate race.

From Bad to Worse for Ferrari

Charles Leclerc’s struggles in Qualifying took a dramatic turn for the worse in the race proper at the British Grand Prix. Describing the situation as “worse than a nightmare,” an early call for intermediate tyres at Silverstone dashed any hopes of scoring points, leaving Charles ending up with a 14th place finish.

Running in seventh place after a decisive overtake on Lance Stroll, Leclerc seemed poised to climb further up the ranks. However, light rain began to drizzle over the track, making conditions slippery but not severe enough for most teams to consider a tyre change. Against the norm, Ferrari decided to pit Leclerc at the end of lap 19 for intermediate tires, anticipating heavier rain.

This decision backfired spectacularly. Rejoining the race ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Leclerc quickly realized that the intermediates were not suitable for the conditions. Bottas swiftly passed him, and Leclerc continued to lose time, stuck behind the Sauber. When the heavier rain finally arrived, his tires were already worn out, necessitating another pit stop.

Leclerc reflected on the strategic misstep: “It was clearly the wrong strategy. Given the information I had, I thought it was the right call. The rain seemed heavy in Turn 15, and I was told it would intensify that lap. So, I pitted to get ahead of the weather.”

Unfortunately, the anticipated downpour didn’t materialize until eight or nine laps later, effectively ending his race. Frustration was evident as he recounted the event: “From that moment, our race was over. It’s another weekend to forget, adding to a growing list of disappointments. This period is incredibly tough—worse than a nightmare. I hope we can turn things around soon.”

Leclerc’s candid assessment highlights the challenges Ferrari faces, as they continue to search for the right formula amid a series of setbacks.

After the Monaco Grand Prix

After Monaco we were crossing fingers for a Ferrari surge led by Leclerc to challenge Verstappen and Red Bull.

Instead we got a McLaren surge led by Lando Norris … a surge that looked capable of giving Verstappen a run for his money in the championship.

Now we have a new spoiler in Mercedes with both Russell and Hamilton winning the most recent two Grand Prix races.

The result of all this still leaves Verstappen in the lead in the Drivers Championship with second placed Lando Norris’ charge complicated by Mercedes resurgence. Charles lies in third Place.

If Hamilton chalks up more wins with Mercedes it’s going to be interesting when he joins Ferrari alongside Charles Leclerc next season. Arguably the greatest driver in modern times, an energized Hamilton with new wins to his credit will be an excellent foil to pull the best out of Charles. But it needs Ferrari to get their engineering back to the forefront! The strategic gamble to use Silverstone as a testing ground for troubleshooting the SF-24’s problems, despite the short-term pain, hopefully underscores Ferrari’s commitment to finding a solution.

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