Ferrari once again caused a controversy in Russia – specifically Sebastian Vettel.
The German refused to let his team-mate Charles Leclerc overtake him in the initial phase, although he received a clear instruction from the team – and this had already been agreed before the race.
TJ13 now believes that Leclerc’s position within Ferrari has completely undermined it’s current structure. Indeed if I were to explain my feeling honestly, Lerclerc currently holds far too much away in the team, in a revered fashion of misplaced respect to the deceased Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne. Leclerc is a dead man’s Champion and Vettel was yesterday’s news.
Still, Leclerc seems to be happy to wait, keeping feelings close to his chest and towing (excuse the pun) the company line.
In the end, the exchange of the two cars took place later in the pits.
“At the start I went to the left to give Seb the slipstream,” reports Leclerc and explains:
“I knew that he would overtake. We knew that. Then we had to switch back again, and we did that later in the race at the pit stop.
“If Lewis and Seb drive side by side, then of course I have to give Seb the advantage and not Lewis
“That’s normal. That was decided before,” says Leclerc and adds that the agreement was “respected” because he passed Vettel again at the pit stop. But it’s also clear that the German didn’t make room voluntarily at first.
“I don’t know. I think the situation was quite tricky,” Leclerc avoids a bit and explains:
“There was a safety car immediately [after the start] and then it was quite difficult. Following became difficult…
“For two or three laps, I tried to stay as close as possible. But then following became difficult – especially in the first and second sector. The tyres overheated and I dropped back a bit,” reports Leclerc.
But he “trusted the team 100 percent” that he would get the position back.
That’s what they did at the pit stop. Consequently, the relationship of trust with Vettel had not suffered either.
“We have to trust each other,” says Leclerc. In certain situations it is important for the team “to know that you can count on the other car”.
That applies in both directions. “Trust is still there,” emphasises the 21-year-old. By the way, it wasn’t an option for him to break the agreement at the start. “I had absolutely no reason to fight [against Vettel],” he clarifies and adds: “As I said, I completely trusted that we’d switch back afterwards.
There was no reason to take any risks at that point. That’s why I didn’t fight back.”
With Vettel’s retirement, the issue was settled anyway – at least in this race.