Ferrari head of strategy Iñaki Rueda has said the team would have “cut our losses” if it had known the decision to stay out on slicks at the end of the Russian Grand Prix was “damned”.
Carlos Sainz made the switch to intermediates and eventually took third behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, but Charles Leclerc, who had battled his way from the back of the grid into the points, slid to 15th after the strategy call to remain on slicks.
Like long-time race leader Lando Norris, Leclerc struggled for grid as the rain intensified in the closing stages, taking away any chance of points for those who took the gamble.
“With hindsight, we would have done a few things differently,” said Rueda.
“But the biggest difference here would have been to assess better the rain conditions on lap 50, 51 and 52.
“Had we known that we are actually damned to stay out on a dry tyre as we were with Charles, we would not even have posed ourselves the question of staying out for a small likelihood of a podium.
“We would have just cut our losses short, kept our driver safe and put them on an intermediate tyre on lap 50.
Explaining the decision making behind keeping Leclerc on track, Rueda continued: “With Charles, he had only stopped 10 laps before onto a medium and that medium was doing quite well on damp conditions.
“He was making positions as he went up and so we found ourselves in the tight spot on lap 50, in which we thought ‘ok, it is starting to rain more, we have a podium in our sight, if we manage to overtake the two cars in front of us or if they pit out of the way, or we come in with the cars ahead of us and we finish P7 or P8’.
“We had a conversation with Charles, we knew there was more rain coming, it is going to be tough to keep it on track, but if we can keep it on track for three more laps, there is a good chance of getting a good result out of this. We decided to stay out.
“As we know, it was was the wrong decision. These tough choices come very often in wet conditions.”