Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

Leclerc ignored order from Ferrari to stay behind Vettel

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc ignored an order from Ferrari to stay behind his team mate when he overtook Sebastian Vettel for the lead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Leclerc told his race engineer “I’m quicker, guys” as he approached turn four after closing on his team mate at the start of lap five. The radio message was played on the world television feed, but the subsequent reply from his team was not.

Approaching turn 10, Leclerc was told “stay there for two laps, stay there for two laps”. However on the next lap Leclerc overtook Vettel around the outside of turn one.

Afterwards Leclerc said he was “just letting them know” with his original radio message. “Then I think I had an answer, saying to me ‘OK, stay like this for two laps’ but then on the next straight I had the opportunity to go for it, so I went for it and it was a successful pass.”

Ferrari did not communicate to Vettel that his team mate had been told to temporarily hold position. Leclerc was also told during the Australian Grand Prix to stay behind his team mate at the end of the race, an instruction he complied with.

Leclerc said the team had warned the drivers before the race to take extra care when fighting with each other.

“It’s always a tricky situation when you get to fight your team mate because the risks are very high. As in every team, I think, they warn you before the race: OK, you can try things on different people, but with your team-mate, please be careful. Which is something normal.

“But I had the opportunity on lap five and I didn’t hesitate, I just [went] for it. I was happy it was successful the first time I tried, especially after the bad start. So, yeah, happy with how it ended up.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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121 comments on “Leclerc ignored order from Ferrari to stay behind Vettel”

  1. Good on him.

    1. Yep. But it’s a calculated risk. Charles ‘asked’ for permission in Australia. Here he just making ‘friendly reminder’. He got the answer he need. This lap or next lap, he still can justified his action.

      “With all due respect, what difference at this point does it make?” – Charles 2019

    2. Vettel is once again being shown up as a highly over rated driver – just like 2014 when Ricciardo pulled his pants down! Good on Charles for doing exactly what Vettel used to do to Webber!

      1. Can you imagine if Alonso was in that Ferrari for the last few years?! He would be at LEAST a 3 x WDC, if not a 4 x WDC. Vettel is a waste of that Ferrari! No wonder he blocked Ricciardo from Ferrari. Never mind, Leclerc is now pulling his pants down instead!

      2. Agree. He can only win when he is in the fastest car with a teammate not allowed to challenge him. When he has to actually race someone, he comes unstuck. Highly, highly overrated.

        1. Vettel got exactly the same pluadits and compliments at Red Bull, that Lewis gets today.
          Lewis also gets beaten by average team mates and has a woeful 2 wins from 9 poles. His starts are also worse than Vettel’s. I wonder how many championships he’d have won if he’d stayed at McLaren?

          1. I am sorry but you can not even start to compare Vettel to Hamilton. Vettel is a hot headed above average driver who is fast when out in front. Hamilton is a massive talent who makes Vettel look stupid over and over again. Leclerc is twice the driver that Vettel is and is showing that right now. He would have beaten Vettel in Australia had Ferrari not ordered him to let Vettel have the points. Vettel has shown many times over the years that he struggles to cope under pressure.

          2. I think it’s pretty obvious to see that Hamilton is better than Vettel, but how good is Hamilton really? Pretty hard to tell if you ask me.

            Since 2014 he has been in some of the most dominant cars in F1 history, with other cars on the grid over 2 seconds per lap slower some years. He has also had less than stellar team mates in that time. Yes, over 1 lap Rosberg was as quick or even quicker, but his race craft was terrible.

            So you really can’t use his results since 2014 as a marker can you? Not when he had such a MASSIVE advantage over his rivals.

            Then take a look at Hamilton’s results prior to 2014, when he was driving cars more in line with his main competitors. He NEVER finished higher than 4th in the WDC after winning in 2008. Surely this has to tell you something. Yes, in 2012 he was robbed due to woeful reliability, and the RedBull was dominant during this period. But no higher than 4th?

            Clearly he is a great driver, but with such HUGE differences in car performance can you really say he’s any better than anyone than his team mate?

            Let’s put it this way – does anyone REALLY think that Hamilton would be a 5 x WDC if Alonso, Ricciardo or Verstappen had equal machinery in any of the years since 2014?

            I don’t think so.

          3. Nick, indeed no, hamilton is a good driver but he’s been overrated because he’s probably the driver who had the best machinery on average across his whole career, just fathom the thought we considered vettel great, at least some of us, purely in virtue of his superior red bulls, and see how it wouldn’t be hard to overestimate hamilton’s ability.

            I’m sure drivers like alonso or schumacher would be superior to him at a similar age\car, leclerc and verstappen also should be able to compete\beat him in the same circumstances.

  2. Cristian (@sandorcristian)
    1st April 2019, 16:16

    This thing revealed begs the question – why did you hire Leclerc? For a year of apprenticeship? Did he not prove himself enough at Alfa Romeo/Sauber last year? Last year, you did not allow Kimi to race and he obeyed. Guys, in Australia, you told Charles to stay behind, although he was way quicker and it was the first race of the season, and now again? Common, this is racing – let them race. If after the 10th GP the difference favours Vettel, it is only then that you should ask Charles to be no 2. I am ashamed of such management and tactics from a team that probably has the strongest cars and driver line-up on the grid.

    1. For a year of apprenticeship?

      That’s exactly right. And to aid Vettel for the driver’s better than Raikkonen did.

      1. What’s the point if Leclerc is already driving more quickly and not making mistakes like spinning and dropping down the field? It’s a serious question, not a Vettel dig. Any objective evaluation would already say that Ferrari’s best prospects for the WDC (which matters most to them) involve backing Leclerc.

        1. The point is to not have them crash into each other, lose a massive amount of points for WDC and constructors, and have a big ol’ egg on their face, as is not uncommon with two quick drivers (Hamilton/Rosberg, Ricciardo/Verstappen). Especially when one driver is older and under pressure to outperform the new kid. In a situation where both cars are undamaged, I really can’t see Ferrari telling Vettel to let Leclerc pass.

          That being said, I agree with you. They should not be asking Leclerc to hold back. If he can pass he should go for it.

          1. I thought it was all about Ferrari and not one driver who come and go? Caution is one thing but what is the point in having two cars and trying to make sure only one should have the opportunity to win? So after the spin and the loss of position by Vettel, where would they have been if Leclerk obeyed the order? If this is the beginning of the end of Vettel as a top driver, does that mean Ferrari should follow him down?

          2. @knewman Just to clarify, I meant what’s the point in a year of apprenticeship. With all due respect for their mammoth racing legacy, Ferrari can’t afford to back Vettel for another year if he’s going to be underperforming and making serious mistakes, dropping down the field the way has been doing (and Lewis is being nice: it is a very definite pattern). This may be their best chance for a WDC.

            In terms of the dangers of allowing their drivers to race, obviously the risk is there. I don’t really understand the ‘keep station for the next two laps’ order. My more suspicious side assumes that was designed to pull Leclerc back just when he had the pace to pass, but maybe there was some other motive.

          3. they asked him to wait 2 laps so maybe they can be a bit more clear of the merc cars before getting into a battle i believe at that point seb was still a little bit faster than lewis so maybe ferrari wanted a bit more of a gap as fighting each other would be at the mercs advantage

        2. They hoped that by then Vettel would have taken hold of the race and be in total control!

        3. Unless of course Vettel has it stipulated in his contract that he is and should get preferential treatment. We have seen this for at least 2 seasons with Kimi. And that’s why I think Ferrari will never win, the constructors title never seems to be that important to Ferrari.

        4. @david, if you think back to the race this happened before Vettel spun. And therefore there can be a bit of justification in the order. Leclerc didn’t really have a good start and they perhaps thought it was safer to bet on a certain 1-2 finish.

          1. @fons But so early in the race? Various teams try to impose team orders to consolidate where they’ve ended up in the final laps, but not on lap 5. Also the order was to stay put for two laps not for the remainder of the race, which is the bit that most baffled me. It was clear Leclerc had found sudden pace on Vettel, so why slow him down?

      2. You back your best driver not your worst one! They should be letting them race until further into the season at which point they will then know which one is more likely to win the championship. Although to be honest if I were them I would possibly be thinking about telling Vettel that he is expected to now backup Leclerc.

    2. @sandorcristian

      This controlling practice by Ferrari over the many years is the one aspect of their team that is the most off-putting to me. It has carried over through multiple team principals and Ferrari overlords. Their version of control over their #1 and #2 drivers consistently goes beyond the practices of rival teams on a year to year basis. And to what end? What good has this done for their championship prospects and results?

      One could argue it was a successful tactic during the Schumacher era no matter how unsporting, distasteful and even against the rules it was at times. But, how has it served them as a team since then?

      I’m extremely glad LeClerc took the opportunity to pass Vettel when it was there. It is obvious if he had followed the team order it may have been nearly impossible to pass if Vettel was able to pull away after a few laps. (Likely what the team had in mind.)

      Ferrari should take a chance this season and let their drivers decide who will score the most points this season. What do they honestly have to lose?

      1. But, how has it served them as a team since then?

        Their last championship, 2017, was with Raikkonen and Massa on apparently equal pairing, one helping the other at the end (reciprocated the next year when RAI helped Massa). This preferential driver status seems to be about ego and driver greed more than anything else. In team terms, it doesn’t make sense to back one driver before the season has properly unfolded and you’ve seen who is ahead.

        1. *2007

      2. Schumacher was clearly faster than irvine, barrichello or massa, he’d have to be or he wouldn’t be considered one of the greatest in f1 if he were comparable to average drivers.

        Cannot say the same for vettel on leclerc, he doesn’t even look to be faster.

    3. Kimi was free to race last year, that was the problem.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        1st April 2019, 21:16

        @paddy No he wasn’t. Or at least they sacrificed Raikkonen’s strategy to aid Vettel. So his race was compromised in most races.

      2. No he wasn’t, Kimi started racing for himself after they told him that they no longer need his service. Vettel hustled the pit crew to ask Kimi to slow down and let him pass in Germany last year before he crashed

    4. Strongest cars yes, but it the strongest driver lineup. Lewis alone is as competent as both Ferrari drivers together!

      1. ColdFly (@)
        1st April 2019, 17:56

        Lewis alone is as competent as both Ferrari drivers together!

        and still rising, soon he’ll be as competent as the whole grid, and next year as competent as all F1 drivers of all times together!.

        1. LoL definitely a hint of sarcasm there ColdFly. I was speaking to this situation in the race at Bahrain. But I for one believe that Lewis Hamilton is the Best driver of all time. Hopefully you will come to realize this after he has surpassed the great Michael Schumacher!

          1. Please, hes good but not even in the top 5!

            Lewis has never had to really prove himself in poor cars, as hes had a car capable of winning in every season hes been in.

            And many times when its not gone his way he freaks out to his engineers.

            Plus and most notably, hes known for having low weekends where hes well off the pace and acts like he doesn’t even want to be there!

          2. Lewis’s driving hasn’t yet supassed Jackie Stewart let alone, Clark, Fangio, Senna, even Moss. His 2 wins from last 9 poles shows where his only strength is. Schumacher cracked under pressure too much and like Hamilton relied on utter dominant engineers and ultra high budgets to win championships.

          1. Big joe, as a schumacher fan, I’d have to agree that he had some problems under pressure, he won a lot but he could’ve had more in some circumstances, for example 1997 last race, although I’m not sure the tyres they gave him were fine, or in 2006 where he made several mistakes alonso didn’t which would’ve made the difference with the title, or 1994 last race, although that one went well and would’ve been a travesty if hill had won, considering the fia tried everything to stop schumacher from dominating the title with various dq.

      2. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        1st April 2019, 20:15

        You underestimate Charles

      3. Let Merc fire Bottas and hire Leclerc, well see. Or even Max.

    5. that vettel drive a better car than Charles and Kimi last year

  3. Leclerc’s successful move, coupled with his rapid pace and Vettel’s error (yet again) should hopefully start to swing the Ferrari pendulum away from Vettel and more towards equal treatment of the two.

    If Ferrari have sense, they’ll keep their options open earlier in the season instead of rowing in behind Vettel from the outset… he may not he be the right horse to back if they want to bring titles back to Maranello!

    1. it was a balance issue. But you are right, Leclerc is a championship material, but still too early to judge Vettel.

      1. @ TurboBT

        but still too early to judge Vettel.

        Errm are the past 2 seasons not evidence enough?

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          1st April 2019, 21:17

          Plus 2014 where he got embarrassed by Ricciardo

    2. Well, Leclerc put Vettel in that situation. If he’d stayed put maybe Ferrari would’ve left the circuit with a one-two instead.
      He put himself above the team. Vettel made his way the same way, but still.

      1. Leclerc did not put Vettel in any situation unless you are saying that Leclerc would have handled being overtaken better than Vettel? Vettel was much slower than Leclerc so either they both get overtaken by the Mercs or Leclerc overtakes Vettel and tries to go for the win (which lets face it he would have done if the engine had not broke).

        The only person that put Vettel in the position he was in was Vettel himself.

    3. If Ferrari have sense, they’ll keep their options open

      Are we sure Vettel’s contract isn’t ensuring him preferential treatment?

      1. ColdFly (@)
        1st April 2019, 17:58

        Are we sure Vettel’s contract isn’t ensuring him preferential treatment?

        I doubt anybody here knows for sure, but neither convinced that Ferrari would adhere to it.

      2. @jeffreyj

        Usually they have two way clauses.. For example, if Vettel is ‘x’ points ahead or a certain % ahead he gets preferential treatment. Or for the first half of the season he does, etc.

        So, I guess we don’t really know how his contract is structured. Hopefully Ferrari had a clause where they can break Vettels #1 status because of all his unforced errors. Which i believe are 5 in the last 13 races. Starting with his crash in Germany.. Then 4 beautiful spins in 10 races.

        If I were Vettel.. I wouldn’t push my luck by throwing my weight around in the team and asking for team orders… That would be the easiest way to get fired quick.

        1. @todfod : In that event I hope Danny Ric has a performance get-out clause from Renault.

          1. @rich156

            Pretty sure he has one considering how big a gamble joining Renault was.

  4. Ferrari are now 2 for 2 in team orders against Leclerc. Very disappointing.

    1. Having by far the best car and the team totally behind him is the Vettel way; any other, and he cracks under pressure.

      1. @gnosticbrian

        Toto is that you? Ferrari havn’t had a dominant car since Brawn left. And they will never be the best team.

        1. @Big Joe

          I think you forgot to add

          “His 2 wins from last 9 poles”

  5. Slightly different situation to previous race – I guess they wanted to give Vettel a chance to recover his pace if possible… he was the “number 1” afterall… but Ferrari need to reassess the situation: Leclerc is the real deal and deserves a chance this year, if he can deliver it!

  6. Time for Ferrari to back a winner that can handle pressure, not one that fails frequently.

  7. It was such an easy pass he made it with 2 car lengths extra in front of Seb by the apex. #:) This kid is dynamite!

  8. Don’t think Vettel will cope this year. The pressure will be far too high, even more than with Ric.

    Can see him having a complete meltdown and leaving the team, and maybe the sport!

    1. Johan Tolemans
      1st April 2019, 17:54

      There was something not right in Vettel’s head last year, and it is the same this year. Given that, a meltdown is in the cards.

      1. There has never been anything right in Vettels head. Webber has described him as being fast but with a volatile temperament when he raced him. Remember when he rammed Webber at high speed, taking them both out the race?

    2. Will be interesting to watch. Looks like only a question of when, not if.
      It is fascinating to watch the times and teams during FP 1, and 2. The telling feature is the other team drivers doing times very close to each other and going about their development business. You get the sense that Vettel and Charles are trying to out-do each other and are only interested in fastest times. Especially Vettel.
      I can’t help but think what Schumacher would have done, cruise around 3 or 4 seconds adrift, save fuel and tyres, then when the pit-stops align, blitz and wind up in front. No muss, no fuss and job done. Would the car have held together any better .?? we will never know but an fun concept.
      Is it Team Orders, or is it Pace Management.?

  9. I’m inclined to be cynical about team orders—especially considering Ferrari’s checquered past—but I am curious to hear the team’s side of this before judging. Was this an order, or advice intended to manage tyre life, given the known high-deg conditions and the clear pace advantage Leclerc had? If this were a true team order, why make it last only two laps?

    1. DRS guys, c’mon. In 2 more laps he would have DRS which would have made the pass even easier and less risky

      1. He had DRS when he made the pass

    2. staying closely behind a car isn’t helping the tires at all. Either the team orders a swap or Charles to drop 2 seconds back.

    3. They hoped the by then Vettel would have taken hold of the race and be in total control!

    4. @jeffreyj True, but they didn’t tell him to stay closely behind. And Leclerc had just used his tyres to fight off Bottas, so it still seems plausible to me that they would have wanted him to cool his tyres before mounting a charge.

      @Dennis Perhaps. And if so, that would have been wishful thinking, given the clear pace advantage Leclerc had all weekend.

      I’m beginning to suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle—it was a temporary (indeed, stated 2-lap) order to hold position to help both cars build a gap from the Mercs and manage the opening stint, but not a strict race-long ban on racing each other as some are interpreting it.

      Misguided, it turned out to be. And I don’t necessarily agree with it. But I can understand it.

      1. @markzastrow Yeah, I’m not sure what they were planning after the ‘hold for two laps’ thing. We’ll never know for sure I guess.

        What we do know, however, is that Ferrari has said prior to the race in Melbourne that it would focus all attention on Vettel for the first half of the season, including using favourable strategy and team orders for Vettel over Leclerc. This is in line with what they did in Melbourne and it would point into the direction of the team ordering Charles to stay behind Seb.
        My guess as to why they said only ‘2 laps’ is because they wanted to order him permanently (per their prior plan) but Leclerc is forcing them to rethink their pro-Vettel bias within the first 2 races already and they just weren’t quite sure how to deal with it.

        In any case, they can’t favour Vettel anymore. Charles is so much quicker that it just doesn’t make sense anymore.

        1. and they just weren’t quite sure how to deal with it.

          @jeffreyj Yeah, I agree with that—I think you nailed it. What a moment for Leclerc, the team, and the sport. And I agree, Ferrari are going to have to come to terms with their new reality before Shanghai.

  10. It’s the second race of the season and they have already started! I’m not surprised given their history but it’s disappointing.

    1. I wish teams didn’t do it but most do. Ferrari and Mercedes use them all the time and they do it to try and maximize their chance of winnng and don’t care if it looks bad as long as it helps the team. If Ferrari would have done that more the last 2 years they may have won one of those championships. At some point they will have to pick one guy or the other to support

      1. Merecedes? All the time. Bottas passed on track and Lewis passed him back.

        Omg, fans like you should be cricufied for spreading rubbish.

        1. Simple.. because Lewis has shown he can get the job done. Sebastian hasn’t.

      2. Team orders are understandable when there is one driver that is clearly in with a shout of the championship and another who is probably much less likely to do so. They are also understandable when the team is attempting to use tactics to make sure they score the highest number of constructor points possible. However in Australia Vettel was clearly slower than Leclerc and only Leclerc has any chance of chasing down Hamilton. So why keep him behind Vettel when he was more use in front of him? In Bahrain he was catching Vettel at a crazy pace and so it made no sense to hold him back as he showed later that lap (In fact it was more likely to harm Leclercs tyres by keeping him behind Vettel).

        But this is the team that I lost every ounce of respect for after Indianapolis 2005…

    2. I’m not surprised given their history either.. but I don’t remember them being daft enough to support a driver who has shown that he’s not good enough to deliver a title in a close championship battle.

  11. The only thing I can think of to defend Ferrari is perhaps Vettel was having handling issues and they were afraid an attempt to overtake could result in a collision….am I reaching?
    That being said, I’m glad Charles went for it and made a nice clean pass.

    1. They where afraid of a spin not a collision.

      1. they got the spin…:)))))

  12. Leclerc disobeyed team orders, then later in the race subsequently somehow “lost” power enough to cost him places……but not “too” much power to see him drop too many places.

    Don’t mess with da boss.

    1. Interesting post… dunno how I feel about it.

      If I was running Ferrari, I’d slap his peepee too… so I get where you are coming from…

    2. This must be sarcasm lol.

      Ferrari wouldn’t deliberately sabotage their car and take constructors’ points off themselves.

      Especially since Seb was running 5th after yet another unforced spin.

  13. Good to know that Ferrari had a backup plan to lose the race, by keeping their faster driver behind the one that was struggling.

  14. The reintroduction of team orders for a Nr.1 driver comes two years too late. It would have been sensible to strictly support Vettel against Räikkönen in 2017 and 2018.

    This year it is not necessary with Leclerc. It should be rather the other way around that Vettel starts supporting Leclerc. Whilst Vettel may be sometimes as fast as Leclerc, he doesn’t have anywhere near the racing intelligence or the faultlessness of the newcomer despite over 10 years F1 experience more. It’s worrying that Vettel still makes the same mistakes he was doing years ago.

    With Leclerc I finally have hope for a non-Hamilton WDC. Who really believes Bottas will be able to fight with Hamilton? Bottas 2.0 was already malfunctioning in Bahrain.

    1. You lost me when you started talking about supporting one driver over the other, during the second race of the year…

      I love seeing Vettel make mistakes as much as everyone, but leclerc isn’t champion yet, and in fact he still isn’t even a race winner. So come on people, hold your (black) horses.

      1. @cm-cm

        Leclerc might be a bit of an unknown… but it’s a heck of a lot better than known failure such as Vettel.

  15. Afterwards Leclerc said he was “just letting them know” with his original radio message. “Then I think I had an answer, saying to me ‘OK, stay like this for two laps’ but then on the next straight I had the opportunity to go for it, so I went for it and it was a successful pass.”

    And that’s exactly why LEC is gonna be a champion, and Barrichello and Massa will be forgotten. You have the pace, you show it. Period.

    1. @niefer – Well said. I hope he remains aggressive and Ferrari doesn’t clip his wings.

  16. It will be interesting to see Vettel’s reaction now that he knows that CL had been told to stay back for 2 more laps. Good times.

    That team order to stay behind for 2 laps pretty much said “stay behind and destroy your tires so Vettel can pull away and win the race, thank you.”

    1. Multi 2:1 karma?

  17. And one more thing…Vettel shut the door hard on CL at the start of both races…so it is/was only a matter of time until we start seeing fireworks between those 2.

    Good times ahead.

  18. Shows a bit of the ruthlessness that pretty much all the great champions (Sebastian Vettel included) have.

  19. For quite a while now Ferrari have had a No 1 and 2 driver, regardless of what they have said. Charles is still a unproven race winner (am not putting my money on that staying that way ) so they will still have to back Seb and its probably in his contract as well, as if Seb should leave at the end of the season, and Charles turned out to be hit or miss, there are not that many ex world champs to tempt. Whatever the outcome I predict fireworks in that team as the season progresses, which could gift another driver the championship, and if you think Toto had problems with his drivers, we have seen nothing yet.

  20. I’d like to think this was only bc Ferrari wanted to not risk losing any points in a accident. Ferrari always comes before their drivers in F1 I hope they will let them race till it comes time where they need team orders to try and not throw away another championship to Mercedes. That’s why merc uses their team orders a lot also it’s smart even if us fans hate it

  21. 1 April 2019

    1. We don’t publish April Fools, the story is not fake.

  22. Alan Locatelli
    1st April 2019, 20:02

    No citations ,no source
    Looks like april fools from here .

    1. The image is from the race and hasn’t been altered other than to add a circle showing the plastic around the wing. Bottas’s comments are from the post-race FIA press conference. We don’t publish April Fools.

  23. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    1st April 2019, 20:19

    Come on Ferrari, not again
    I know Vettel is their no.1, but Leclerc shows great promise. He’s their driver of the future. They should give him the room. He clearly has the pace and the skill.

  24. georgeboole (@)
    1st April 2019, 20:28

    In my opinion Leclerc should be allowed to pass at that time since he had the pace and build a gap (if he could). Had he not be able to build that gap, team orders are always there to let Vettel through. Simple as that.
    But Ferrari has a clear driver status which may sometimes be good for the team bosses since there are no clashes between drivers but can also be a boomerang situation where the #2 driver is faster but always kept behind and takes things in his hands.
    Great work for Leclerc, that kid shows he has skills, maturity and a strong mind to overcome any situation. And that’s unlike any other “championship material” driver, who crashes in any given occasion (yes i am not a fan of Verstappen, unless he gets his head together).

  25. Are we sure this isn’t april fools?

    1. @montalvo Yes because we don’t publish April Fools.

  26. Sergey Martyn
    1st April 2019, 21:03

    Leclerc is not Bottas nor Multu 1-2 loser – hail the new champion!

  27. Vet is so protected it’s embarrassing at this point. Back Leclerc instead.

  28. I think it would have been funny if Leclerc had stayed behind Vettel for two laps, and lost let’s say 5 seconds, so that Verstappen had finished in front of him at the end of the race.

  29. They were racing,
    He was faster,
    He overtook him,
    He (nearly) won.

  30. Ferrari should let them race as much as possible, but team orders might have to come into play sooner rather than later if Mercedes and Lewis stay ahead in the championships.
    Having said that (the obvious), if Leclerc starts beating Vettel constantly and Ferrari start favouring him, Vettel might still get a win here and there, and then when he does he can go on the radio and say “not bad for a number 2 driver!”

  31. The question is: how many races until Ferrari’s race engineer radio Seb: “…Charles is faster than you….do you understand?…”

  32. Stick to your guns, Ferrari. Back Vettel at all costs, in every circumstance.

    That way, Charles will sign with Mercedes just as Lewis is retiring.

  33. Does this mean we have seen the last of Sebs fickle finger of fate celebration?

  34. Multi-516

  35. Ferrari are being cautious. This is new territory for them having equal drivers (Debatable). Baby steps

  36. Early days, but i see this year being like 2007 McLaren. Very Interesting

    1. Not even close. Hamilton and Alonso were incredibly closely matched. Leclerc is lightyears ahead of Vettel…

  37. Don’t really see the parallels with McLaren 2007. Hamilton and Alonso were pretty equally matched on overall ability. 2007 as well as the further years showed that.

    Vettel hasn’t shown top tier ability since Singapore 2017.

    This is more like 2014 Red Bull rather than 2007 McLaren.

    1. Totally disagree. 2007 was Alonso’s worst year and Lewis’ best. (Even Lewis said himself it was his equal most consistant)

  38. ‘Vettel’s a bad driver ‘ but his starts and pole conversion to wins are are still miles better than Lewis’
    Hamilton fans are living in glass houses.

    1. @Big Joe

      I think you forgot to add

      “His 2 wins from last 9 poles”

      1. @ Ali

        Salute !

      2. Fun fact about the “2 wins from last 9 poles” argument :

        Last 9 poles from Hamilton : Melbourne this year, Yas Marina, Interlagos, COTA, Suzuka, Singapour, Spa, Hungaroring and Silverstone from last year.
        He won at Yas Marina, Interlagos, Suzuka, Singapour and Hungaroring.
        So, in fact, he converted 5 on his last 9 poles (and could have 6 if Kimi didn’t touch him back in Silverstone).

        Last 9 poles from Vettel were Hockenheim, Montréal, Bakou, Shangai and Sakhir last year, Mexico, Singapour, Hungaroring and Sochi the previous year.
        He managed to get the win in Canada, Barhein and Hungary, converting only a third of his last 9 poles.

        So I guess we can confirm that Hamilton is better than Vettel, according to Big Joe.

    2. @ Big Joe

      Please supply the source of your info. Amuse us a bit more

    3. By the way.
      Vettel turned 56.36% of his poles into victories (31 wins/55 poles)
      Hamilton turned 55.95% of his poles into victories (47wins/84 poles)
      Only Schumacher, with a 58.82% conversion rate, beat them.

      Sure, Vettel is ahead, but if Hamilton get the pole + win in China, he would be in front of Vettel in term of statistics. I sure hope you’d correct yourself if that’s the case (but I’m sure you won’t)

  39. Good job Leclerc.. Stood up for himself.

    Ferrari must have wanted to use him as the wingman to slow down the rest of the challengers to ensure Vettel stayed ahead. Quite possible that Vettel would have easily won if that was the case but that would mean Leclerc , without the power failure, would have been a poor 5th and who knows where with the issue.

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