Toro Rosso played "a bit of a game" in Monaco - Leclerc

Sauber Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc believes Toro Rosso played "a bit of a game" during the Monaco Grand Prix by getting Brendon Hartley to slow down others.

Toro Rosso played "a bit of a game" in Monaco - Leclerc
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37
Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13, leads Lance Stroll, Williams FW41, Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C37, and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37
Brendon Hartley, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37
Brendon Hartley, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13

Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly ran a very long first stint to rise from 10th to sixth but looked as though he would drop out of the points as others stopped earlier and eradicated his pitstop window.

Hartley was 12th, heading a group of midfield contenders that moved into points contention by stopping earlier, and just 15 seconds behind Gasly on lap 26 but had dropped to 28s back when Gasly pitted 10 laps later.

"That was so frustrating," said Leclerc, who was bottled up behind Hartley. "I think Toro Rosso has played a bit of a game.

"Brendon was clearly slowing down at one point. We were like 2.8s slower than the laps we were doing at the end of the race.

"Before that we were in a very good place to score points, theoretically."

Gasly defied all expectations for hypersoft tyre management by extending his opening stint so long, which he admitted was an improvisation from his team as it monitored the performance of the otherwise unpopular compound.

At the beginning of the phase that re-established Gasly's pitstop window, Hartley caught a five-car train led by Nico Hulkenberg, who was also running long.

Hartley fell away from that group during an erratic spell in which his laptimes rose into the 1m20s, having been consistently 1m18s before.

It took Hartley another dozen laps after Gasly stopped before he starts to consistently improve again, which Hartley said was down to the front tyres graining.

Several drivers struggled with this during the same phase of the race but Hartley felt his problem was exacerbated by front wing damage from the a first-lap bump with Leclerc.

"Initially I did a few very good laps to get the undercut, which worked very well, then I suffered big time with graining," Hartley explained.

"The team told me others were suffering the same, but I think having damage on the front wing wasn't helping."

Hartley picked up a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane, which meant that even when it looked like his group would get ahead of the runners yet to stop he was poised to tumble down the order.

"If we were in their position, considering Brendon's penalty, we probably would have done the same as a team," said Leclerc.

"It's not blaming anything on Toro Rosso, it was just frustrating to be the car behind."

The on-track battle between Hartley and Leclerc ended in a spectacular crash when Leclerc's front left brake disc "exploded" under braking for the Nouvelle chicane.

Sauber had registered a brake problem on Leclerc's car but thought it would survive to the end of the race.

shares
comments
Monaco Grand Prix driver ratings
Previous article

Monaco Grand Prix driver ratings

Next article

Renault defends call that made Sainz "bitter"

Renault defends call that made Sainz "bitter"
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021