Sebastian Vettel calls out Ferrari for favouring Charles Leclerc after his first podium finish in F1
When Ferrari moved on from Kimi Raikonnen to Charles Leclerc, there were questions, a few murmurs here and there. Was Ferrari shifting gears to prepare for life beyond Sebastian Vettel? With Raikonnen Ferrari had a good driver whose peak was behind him and he did not have, to put it kindly, lofty ambitions that could get in the way of favoring Sebastian Vettel. So why would Ferrari switch to a young exciting driver with his whole career and ambitions ahead of him?
Sebastian Vettel last season had a terrible second half. Ferrari was a faster car in a lot of circuits where Ferrari’s strategy and Vettel’s overzealousness cost them bucket load of points that ended up with Mercedes and Hamilton wrapping up the title with comparative ease. The chatter wasn’t very loud, but it was the first time in 4 years that Ferrari looked like they might have doubts about Vettel and whether he was going to get them back to the promised land.
The season is only two races in, but Charles Leclerc has been he better driver in both the races. Not only has the young Frenchman driven better but he has said and done all the right things outside of the track. Vettel only held on to his 4th spot in Melbourne because the team asked Leclerc to not pass Vettel or he would’ve classified higher than his teammate in both the races.
In Bahrain, Leclerc showed the pace of Ferrari and dominated the entire week leading every Free Practice and qualifying on pole. He did not get a good start to the race as it appeared his tires were not up to the right temperature and he quickly fell to 3rd on the grid as things seem to fall apart for him on his 1st ever start from pole position. But he showed incredible composure for a lad so young, and passed both Bottas and Vettel within 3 laps to go back into the lead, a position he held for much of the race until his engine problems that heartbreakingly dropped him way down from having a 10 second lead at the top to finishing 3rd (catching a lucky break with late safety cars).
Mattia Binotto defends Sebastian Vettel after Bahrain: “We have to encourage our drivers because they can only achieve the best possible results if they push to the limit. And that’s exactly what Seb tried to do here.”
— tami. (@Vetteleclerc) April 1, 2019
Vettel had a race typical to what we have been seeing from Vettel in the past half year. He had a comfortable lead in the second position, 2/3rds of the way in, when Lewis Hamilton undercut worked really well and Vettel came under pressure after his 2nd pit stop. Under the pressure Vettel pushed his car too hard and spun which not only ruined his tires but also lead to broken front wing that pushed him way down and he ended up in the 5th place.
Vettel visibly frustrated did not say much initially, talking about not managing to get what he wanted from the car. Upon asked about Leclerc’s performance in the same car, on Sunday Vettel congratulated his teammate for a better race, but on Monday he changed his tune.
Vettel in a scathing attack on Ferrari, blamed the team for favoring Leclerc and not giving him the same strategy for the race. He believes the team delayed his pit stop to safeguard Leclerc and it caused Hamilton to catch up to him and he had been told that he would be given preference, which the team did not do.
It’s only two races in but Ferrari already seems to be in the middle of a proper soap opera, with blistering pace in testing, total loss of pace in Australia, great pace in Bahrain but still a Mercedes 1-2 and now this with Vettel. If you think all of this is great drama that belongs in a movie, you are right. It’s all written by yours truly for today (you know what day it is, I blame you for opening sensational-heading articles on this day), and after the dud that turned out to be F1-Drive to Survive, we could use some F1 based drama. Hit me up in the comments below if you’d like to sponsor my F1 movie that I just decided to create.
Happy April Fool’s day.