Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto insists his side did not compromise Charles Leclerc for Sebastian Vettel during qualifying for Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Leclerc was knocked out of qualifying in Q1 after a “misjudgement” from Ferrari meant he did not complete a second run on a fresh set of tyres at the end of the session.

As other drivers around him set better times as track conditions improved, Leclerc could only watch on in disbelief from the Scuderia garage as he plummeted down the order before ultimately being eliminated by teammate Vettel - who had been languishing inside the drop zone prior to his final flying effort.

Asked if Ferrari had been too focused on ensuring Vettel made it through and lost sight of Leclerc, Binotto replied: “No, no, not at all.

“We’ve got two full teams, one per driver, so we didn’t compromise at all. The threshold was the same exactly for the two drivers.

“On one side, obviously we had the necessity to go out, and on the other… Charles asked, by the way, from his cockpit, should I go out, I think it’s a bit too marginal, we may be at risk. We replied that no, we’ve got the data, and we believed it was good enough. It wasn’t.

“We should have overruled,” he added. “We didn’t. I think when you’ve got tools and simulations, you should trust what you are doing.

“So we were fully cautious that it would have been tight, but our tools were telling us that it would have been good enough. As I said, we are somehow maybe taking risks, too many risks. It’s a misjudgement, and as a misjudgement it is a mistake.”

'Mercedes doesn't take risks like Ferrari'

Monaco polesitter Hamilton pinned the error down to a lack of preparation and believes Mercedes is making less mistakes than its chief rival because it does not take the same sort of risks.

“Sometimes it happens,” Hamilton explained. “You will have a minimum time, a knockout time and predict the track will improve by a certain amount and think you are safe.

“It was the same on my first lap, I didn’t feel safe so I decided to do more and better my time. I’ve been sat in the garage before right on the edge and not sure whether you would get it or not. They chose to risk it and we don’t really take any risks. 

“That’s just all about preparation and it’s really a formality where you sit down and you talk about the timings, even going into Q3, and preparation and what you would be doing and communication. That relationship is so important. We’ve got great people in our team that are just not making mistakes.”

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