Ferrari admit 'mistake' after Charles Leclerc Monaco GP woes
Leclerc starts 15th after shock Q1 exit; Watch Sunday's Monaco GP at 2.10pm on Sky Sports F1, with build-up from 12.30pm
By James Galloway in Monaco
Last Updated: 28/05/19 7:27pm
Ferrari have opened up about the "mistake" which led to Charles Leclerc's disastrous Monaco GP qualifying, as the Scuderia counted the cost of another tough day in F1 2019.
Leclerc, who had set the pace in practice three, failed to clear Q1 and will start 15th for his home race on the sport's most difficult circuit to overtake.
In a hastily-convened press conference to explain what had gone wrong, team boss Mattia Binotto told reporters: "It is not a good day. We made a mistake. That's the way we may call what happened today, nothing more.
"It has been a misjudgement and a wrong evaluation of the cut-off time."
Despite Leclerc making a mistake at Rascasse on the best lap of his first Q1 run, which left him mid-way down the order, Ferrari chose not to send the Monegasque out for a second attempt to sure-up a Q2 position - with damaging consequences.
As other drivers improved in the final moments, Leclerc could do nothing but watch on in the garage as he slipped below the cut line to 16th place. That becomes 15th on Sunday's grid after a penalty for Antonio Giovinazzi, but remains scant consolation for both team and driver.
"It's a very difficult one to take," Leclerc told Sky F1. "I need some explanations."
So what went wrong?
Having likely already explained the strategy failings to his frustrated driver, Binotto addressed a packed press conference in Ferrari's motorhome on Saturday evening to explain exactly what had happened.
"The cut off time is calculated real-time on what we may see on the track based on the real-time sectors, all the competitors and all the drivers.
"When the cut-off time is calculated we normally have a margin on top of it and the margin is good enough to afford for any tolerances whatever may happen during the session. Certainly what happened today is that the margin we applied was not sufficient.
"The track improvement has been very significant by the end of Q1 and the second [factor] was probably that our margin was not considering enough variability due to drivers feeling confidence [and going faster]. Certainly that margin in the future needs to be increased. The lesson of today is that in Monaco the margin needs to be greater."
Asked if he could have still overruled the computer simulations from the pit wall while Q1 was unfolding, Binotto conceded: "We should have overruled, but we didn't."
Sebastian Vettel, who had earlier crashed in final practice, made Q3 but qualified a distant fourth behind the Mercedes cars and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
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