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Formula 1

Binotto explains decision not to swap drivers in Brazil

Charles Leclerc at the Sao Paulo GP. Credits: @ScuderiaFerrari (Twitter)

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto explained why they decided to keep Carlos Sainz ahead of Charles Leclerc at the Sao Paulo GP.

Sainz and Leclerc were running 3rd and 4th respectively on the final laps of Sunday’s race at Interlagos. Leclerc asked the team if they would switch positions with Sainz given his battle against Sergio Perez in the championship.

However, Ferrari decided not to do it. Leclerc admitted that he was “frustrated in the heat of the moment” about it.

Binotto revealed that Ferrari took a cautious approach because of Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen close behind.

“First, swapping the two cars on the last lap was certainly tricky because Charles had Fernando and Max just behind,” he said.

Another factor that triggered Ferrari’s decision was the controversy regarding Yuki Tsunoda during the Safety Car period. The AlphaTauri driver did not manage to unlap himself because of a track system loophole. He restarted the race behind Sainz.

Binotto noted that they were convinced they were under investigation because of that.

“We knew that we were under investigation for what happened behind the Safety Car with Tsunoda,” Binotto added.

“We were cleared by race control at the time, so we were quite comfortable, but without having a conclusion on the matter, it would have been risky [to swap the cars].

“Because a five-second penalty, for example, would then mean that Carlos would have lost more than one position, so for the Constructors’ Championship, it was certainly better to stick with the positions and the gaps on track.”

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