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

Vettel “not surprised” Leclerc passed him despite team order

2019 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel says he wasn’t surprised Charles Leclerc overtook him in the Bahrain Grand Prix despite Ferrari telling his team mate to hold position behind him.

Leclerc was told to wait two laps before passing Vettel, but overtook his team mate less than a lap later. Vettel said he hadn’t seen the video showing the radio communication between Leclerc and his engineer, but he is “not surprised” by it.

“I think it was quite clear that he was quite a lot faster at that point,” Vettel explained. “I could have passed him back on the next straight but for me, the way I judged it, at that point was that it’s going to cost me more time and him more time.

“The race was very long from that point onwards, as I’ve said. It didn’t go exactly my way on that Sunday so at that point it wasn’t part of trying to destroy or trying to hold Charles’s Sunday back.”

Asked whether he is feeling under pressure after being out-paced by his new team mate in their second race together, Vettel said the pair still have a good working relationship.

“I don’t know how much you can read into him but I think it’s pretty much what I see. I think he’s a good kid. He’s fast, so [are] the ingredients and the reason – as he’s proven many times before entering into Formula 1 – why he’s deserved a place.

“So to work with he is pretty straightforward. I don’t know what you guys sometimes imagine on the other side but I haven’t com across a driver that was a pain in the arse, and I hope I never will. So that’s clear.”

Vettel said he is taking encouragement from the fact he isn’t fully comfortable in Ferrari’s new car yet and believes there is more to come.

“I wasn’t happy with my performance, not happy with the feeling yet for the car, the feeling that I had prior to the season in testing and so on. That’s why I know that I can do better and I know I have lots of races to show and prove that. But at least I’m not, let’s say, at the top of it and it’s good that he is.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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14 comments on “Vettel “not surprised” Leclerc passed him despite team order”

  1. I agree with him. Last year when he spun he managed to get back around without destroying his tyres. He didn’t manage to do that yet this season

  2. Webber?

  3. “Sebastian Vettel says he wasn’t surprised Charles Leclerc overtook him in the Bahrain Grand Prix despite Ferrari telling his team mate to hold position behind him” – ‘multi21’ ring any bells Seb?

    1. @gnosticbrian if vettel would have cried about it, or acted sour, your comment would sting..HOWEVER, leclerc was faster, and passed him fair and square. To which Vettel didn’t cry about it, he just got on with ruining his own race.Similar tothe multi2-1 fiasco, not that the situations are the same.

      This situation gave me more respect for vettel, at least he’s consistent about speed being above all else. Multi2-1 indeed!

      1. Xcm – my post was not intended to sting. Just to remind that Seb was not reticent in ‘getting his elbows out’ to establish dominance over a team mate DESPITE team instructions.

  4. …Vettel explained. “I could have passed him back on the next straight …”

    Okay, Seb, okay. Whatever you say.

    1. I came here to make this comment. Who is he trying to kid? Himself perhaps?

    2. It looked to me like he backed out of it largely for the reasons he stated. He could have stayed alongside up the inside and held him back for a few more corners, but he wasn’t going to keep Sharrrrllll behind for long so it would have just slowed both of them down and eaten their tires.

  5. As a Ferrari fan, I am really tired of Seb’s mistakes. The Bahrain one was the most painful one coupled with Leclerc’s engine issue. However, I also feel like if he wins a race, he’ll bounce back. I’m not an expert or anything but I feel like a win will restore his confidence (which he seems to be lacking). I really would like to see a 4-way fight(Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Leclerc) for the championship and NO #2 DRIVERS, everyone fights for themselves.

    1. True, didn’t think about it but with all mistakes and such vettel probably didn’t win a race since belgium last year, raikkonen fought for the win 1 race and won another race, leclerc would’ve won another race already in the meantime and vettel is yet to really compete.

      I don’t think he’ll never win another race again, but that’s too little for one who wants to win a title with that car.

  6. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    11th April 2019, 20:50

    If there is one driver who knew what Charles felt when he went for the move is Seb. He did it in Malaysia back in 2013.

  7. Leclerc overtaking the aging champion who went with the same speed and hunger after his experienced and mature teammate in 2013. The same teammate showing his talent in Williams and early Red Bull years, completely overshadowing the respected veteran David Coulthard. And it goes on. We can only feel certain that someone will push Leclerc and Verstappen out of their positions and we won’t be even surprised.

    I have a picture in my mind. Seb’s waiting in the hall with his suitcase while Lewis is still enjoying his drink on a terrace. Verstappen, Leclerc, Norris and Russell are knocking on the door, checking behind their shoulders whether they aren’t chased by dogs. A half-sane neighbour Fernando insists it’s his house, doesn’t really need it, but just checking if it’s ok. And guess who’s an icecream man, of course.

  8. It has been very frustrating to see Vettel over these last few years. He essentially deprived us of a title challenge that could have gone down to the wire had he kept it together. The fact (according to Benson anyway) that there are murmurs in Maranello about “Fernando would have won the title” says it all.

    It’s early days yet but the signs are ominous for Vettel. In 2014, whether you like it or not, Danny Ric wiped the floor with him. Now with Leclerc, the cycle seems to repeating itself. Apart from that season in 14, Vettel has never had a hard charging team mate, until now. As much as I love Webber, he never got to grips with the Pirelli tyres. And Kimi, well Kimi is Kimi.

    I said last year that Sebs been found out. I think he’s a bit like Jenson in the sense that if the car is perfectly balanced to his style, he will get out front and win. For 4 years, he had a perfect car more often than not.

    Having said all this, expect Vettel to be on pole and win.. Hahaha

  9. Sergey Martyn
    12th April 2019, 15:38

    As I’ve said MULTI21 will strike back – like Shirley Bassey sung:

    And I’ve seen it before
    And I’ll see it again
    Yes I’ve seen it before
    Just little bits of history repeating

Comments are closed.