Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Ferrari stands by decision to swap Vettel and Leclerc

2019 Chinese Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the team made the “right choice” by telling Charles Leclerc to let Sebastian Vettel past in the Chinese Grand Prix.

Leclerc was ordered to let Vettel through during the first stint, but the change of positions left him vulnerable to Max Verstappen, who jumped ahead of him when they pitted and finished the race between the two Ferrari drivers.

Asked whether the team had made the correct call, Binotto said: “It’s always difficult to judge.

“We tried everything we could not to lose time on the Mercedes ahead and that was among the only chance we got at the time. So we tried, it didn’t work, but I think it was right anyway to give that chance to Seb. I think as a team we did whatever we could.”

Binotto admitted it hadn’t been easy to give the instruction.

“Certainly it’s difficult as a team to give the order because we understand the drivers, they need to battle to stay ahead as much as they can. It was certainly not an easy decision.

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“I have to thank Charles I think the way he did it I think he is again showing he is a good team player. But I think there will be a time that the situation will maybe simply inverted. I think as a team we need always to maximise the team points. In that respect I think we simply did the right choice.”

Leclerc, who let Vettel by two corners after he was told to, said he accepted the decision.

“Obviously being in the car it was a bit frustrating,” he said. “But on the other hand I am well aware that in the car you don’t see much of the full picture of the race. So then I just accepted it, did it, and focused on my race.”

Immediately after the race Leclerc said he did not want to comment on the team’s tactics until he had discussed it with them. Following the post-race debrief he said Vettel had been unable to pull away from him quickly after they swapped positions because of damage to his tyres.

“It was not an easy situation,” Leclerc explained. “I was obviously struggling with tyres. We both were.

“At the time it just felt like Seb was quicker. But obviously being behind me for some laps he also damages his tyres and when he went in front his tyres were probably also damaged.”

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80 comments on “Ferrari stands by decision to swap Vettel and Leclerc”

    1. LOL!
      And with whom should they replace him?

      And have two kids?))
      They will have to hire a nanny.

      1. Not sure if you’d consider verstappen a kid, but I think he’d make a great choice.

        1. Verstappen is young like him, but he’s been in f1 for a while now, so he has some experience, I’d call back alonso however, that + leclerc would make a super line up.

    2. Most probably he will leave F1 by the end of this year if Leclerc keeps pushing him like that.

      If not that issue last GP, Leclerc would be 3rd now and Vettel 5th.

      1. I just checked the stats and discovered that Vettel has more race wins and WDCs than Leclerc. He probably gets paid more than Leclerc, and so far this year has out-qualified him. If I were Ferrari’s team manager I’d rather have Vettel trying to chase down the Mercs than Leclerc. If Leclerc is not happy with this he can always resign. Most likely there are quite a few drivers who’d happily swap places with him.

        1. None of them as good as leclerc, most of them better than vettel, that’s the problem.

        2. @greenflag

          Maybe your impressive stats on Vettel tell only half the story… the way I see it…he’s proven to be rubbish in delivering a championship. He’s managed to get outraced and outscored by his number 2 drivers since the midpoint of last season. He’s spun 4 times in 14 races. He’s thrown 2 championships away and has proved that he’s not good enough to beat Lewis Hamilton.

          The whole reason thy got Leclerc in was because Vettel couldn’t get the job done. Vettel still doesn’t look capable of getting the job done. Yet… your solution is to support the driver who’s proven to be a failure instead of supporting a driver with potential to get he job done.

          1. No. They got Leclerc to replace Kimi who wasn’t delivering enough points. Otherwise keep Kimi and replace Vettel.

  1. It was the correct decision. Vettel was quicker than Leclerc as he drive away from him with-out DRS while Leclerc in the binning still had DRS.
    Only mistake Ferrari made was that the left Leclerc out way to long, or else it would have been 3 and 4.

    For the rest Ferrari has some home work to do, one GP they go with MAG 20 the next race they crawl at RBR speeds. They are way to inconsistent.

    1. Pedro Andrade
      14th April 2019, 13:47

      Agreed, they had to confirm if Vettel could indeed chase after the Mercedes.

      However, it quickly became clear he could not pull away from Leclerc/Verstappen (he only kept close to Leclerc because he was getting DRS), so in fairness Leclerc should have been given the place back. At the very least they should not have ruined his race with a nonsense strategy.

      1. Agree that Ferrari did the right thing, but disagree that they should have given CL the spot back. His pace was lagging just a titch more behind SV than SV was when he was behind CL and the gap was soon bigger for CL behind SV. Giving CL the spot back would have only sent both Ferraris into the clutches of Max, not just the one.

      2. I grudgingly accept that it was the right call at the time to let Seb past, but also that giving the place back wasn’t an option. Verstappen was closing too quickly, and they’d have risked him taking over.

        The final pit stops were the bad call, and I believe they threw Leclerc under the bus. They kept him out long enough to first delay Botas then to give Seb a tow. This meant he had no chance after a stop on mediums. After that, Leclerc had only two possible chances: leave him out and hope he stayed ahead, or gamble on the softs, and Ferrari did neither. They screwed him over big time.

        1. With some hours between the race and now, yep, have to agree with @robbie and @drmouse in this: it probably wasn’t unreasonable to think Vettel was faster, though perhaps by giving it a lap or two, his tyres were then damaged enough to shrink the advantage (Vettel taking too much from his tyres to stay in DRS, unlike what Leclerc did after swap? Maybe, but it didn’t buy Leclerc much in strategy, so better go Vettel’s way, in hindsight, also bc. it got him third, not 5th …); either way, Leclerc’s strategy after that was a mirror from Kimi-type stuff from last year.

          I think their fundamental mistake after the swap didn’t bring them closer to Mercedes was that they were slow to realise they weren’t in that race (anymore), but rather in a fight with Verstappen/RBR for the final podium spot and 4th place, ie. game was to consolidate rather than screw one to try and get the other into the fight for the win. But, all easy to say/see afterwards, right?

    2. It was indeed the right thing to do. Vettel was destroying his tires and easy in Leclerc DRS. When they swapped Leclerc only managed to stay relative close thanks to small breaking mistakes by Vettel, but almost directly outside DRS. I also suspect Vettel was on a 2-stop as plan A and Leclerc on a 1-stop.

    3. Yet when they made the swap, the biggest the gap between them was 1.6 seconds until he pitted before Charles.

    4. Vettel was not quicker at all. In fact they were gaining time on Verstappen when Leclerc was ahead and they started losing time to Verstappen after Vettel took the lead.

      Putting Vettel ahead is what caused Leclerc to lose on the undercut.

      Besides, if they were so worried about an undercut, would it not have made a whole lot more sens to give either of their cars an early stop? Taht takes away the undercut risk and it solves the problem of two cars in each others way.

      But no, they didn;t want that, they wanted only to help Vettel. They used Leclerc as a pawn, first to keep Verstappen back far enough to protect a slow Vettel from the undercut. After that they kept Leclerc out even longer to attempt to hold Bottas up and help Vettel attack Bottas.

      They ruined Leclerc’s entire race all to help Vettel.

      1. I am sure that Mercedes will be very happy if Ferrari keep making these ‘RIGHT DECISIONS’ during the whole of the 2019 F1 season; or have I missed something?

    5. Are we sure about that. I have not seen the precise lap times but it looked like Leclerc was slightly pulling away from Vettel at the time…

  2. They can keep Seb.. as a clear number two driver… Charles has been quicker every race but they keep trying to supposedly maximize the teams points.. that didn’t happen at all…

    1. But he wasn’t quicker this race.

      1. He wasn’t any slower, and who knows how quick he may have been without Ferrari’s shocking strategy calls.

        1. The thing is, they weren’t going forward with Leclerc, yet had a chance to do so with Vettel. I agree their difference in pace wasn’t exactly gigantic after the swap, but I do believe Vettel had that little edge on Leclerc this weekend. The fact that Leclerc didn’t manage to get that fastest lap pretty much tells the story. Leclerc’s attempt was 8 laps after Vettel, which is probably a 15kg (ballpark) advantage.

  3. The problem is that Charles had to slow right down to let SV pass. Ferrari then we’re about a second and a half behind Mercedes (Sev leading now) and Verstappen suddenly got in the picture to grab a place or even two from them. They should’ve waited until Seb was closer… Because they initially asked Charles to pick up speed or they’d swap and he did that. But then they told him to let seb go but he was already of out of the DRS.

    If this is going to continue, while they still don’t have the car perfectly fit to beat Mercedes on pure pace, it’ll be an early goodbye to any sort of chance to win for the world championship.

    1. @fer-no65, if you review the timing information, Verstappen was already in that position before Ferrari changed Leclerc and Vettel around, and in fact it’s debatable whether that actually changed a great deal relative to Verstappen.

      On lap 10, which was the final lap before they reversed position, Leclerc was 6.76s off the lead, Vettel was 7.57s off the lead and Verstappen was 10.31s off the lead. That means Vettel was 0.81s behind Leclerc when they crossed the finish line on that lap, with Verstappen 3.55s behind Leclerc and 2.74s behind Vettel.

      Between laps 11 and 14, Verstappen didn’t actually gain that much time relative to the two Ferrari’s – he went from 2.74s to 2.36s behind Leclerc, so he only gained by about a tenth of a second a lap. He gained a little more just before he pitted, with the gap coming down to about 2.0s to Leclerc, but it looks as if that was more down to Leclerc dropping back slightly to 1.4s behind Vettel.

      Verstappen was 3.1s behind Vettel on lap 11, with the gap slightly increasing to 3.4s by lap 16 so, relatively speaking, just before Verstappen made his pit stop, he was about the same distance back from Vettel as he had been relative to Leclerc just before Ferrari reversed their positions.

      Even without switching the drivers around, Verstappen was already close enough to potentially undercut the second of the two Ferrari’s and was going to be a threat to the leading one as well – in that sense, it probably didn’t actually make a huge difference overall.

      1. Only a bad pitstop from Verstappen saved Vettel, without that Ferrari would have given away two positions with these teamorders.

      2. Verstappen was 3.1s behind Vettel on lap 11, with the gap slightly increasing to 3.4s by lap 16

        No, the gap went up to 3.7s on lap 12. That was the only lap that Vettel actually had some paced (by ruining his tyres in getting that pace). From then on the gap eroded to 3.4s

        On lap 3 there was 1.4s between Vettel and Verstappen, that went up to 2s and up to 2.7s just before the swap. The gap between Vettel and Verstappen was at it’s biggest was in the lap before the swap. It grew.

        The gap between Leclerc and Verstappen went up to 2.5s one lap after the swap and then it dropped down steadily over the next 5 laps to 2s.

        So instead of pulling away from Verstappen by 1 tenth of a second with Leclerc in the lead, they went to losing 1 tenth of a second per lap after Vettel took the lead.

        More clearly was the distance to Bottas. The gap between Leclerc an Bottas grew by 1.9s (from 1.8 to 3.7s) over 8 laps (0.23s/lap) while it grew by 2.8s (from 4.9 to 7.7s) after Vettel got the lead over only 5 laps (ie 0.55s/lap). It grew twice as fast with Vettel in the lead.

        Just look at the Chinese interactive lap times and it’s clear to see that the Leclerc’s and Vettel’s chart go much steeper after Vettel takes the lead.

        1. @f1osaurus, the picture is complicated, though, because according to Motorsport Magazine, Ferrari initially allowed Leclerc to use a higher engine performance mode in those opening laps – he was given an opportunity to prove he could break away from Vettel by turning the engine up, and when he failed to do that, got the order to give up position to Vettel. That difference in the gradient is therefore potentially also reflecting the fact that Leclerc was temporarily allowed to turn his engine up higher than Vettel.

          1. Well if that was the case there would have been a radio message about that.

  4. But I think there will be a time that the situation will maybe simply inverted.

    And yet in the inverse situation last race, Leclerc was told to stay back. So the exact opposite actually happened. Credibility rating: 0/1

    I think as a team we need always to maximise the team points. In that respect I think we simply did the right choice.

    But Ferrari came away with 3rd and 5th rather than 3rd and 4th, so the team didn’t maximize points and by his own reckoning actually made the wrong choice. Credibility rating: 0/2

    1. +1 this is the worst team on grid when it comes overpromising and making strategic blunders.

      1. Anthony Samuel
        14th April 2019, 14:38

        I agree. This is Mercedes year

    2. @david-br It is with the luxury of hindsight to say they made the wrong choice today. They had to try something and at the very moments they had to decide, indeed Seb was quicker and looking like he was being held up by CL. That they came 3rd and 5th was more to do with Max’s performance than with CL getting screwed or something. The Ferraris were simply not competitive enough today. Had they kept Seb behind CL they might have only gotten 4th and 5th behind Max. When CL was told to hold station last time, it was because their swapping was not going to change their points positions in the race. There was nobody CL was going to chase down and pass by being let past SV.

      1. I don’t think so. Leclerc came 5th most probably because Ferrari kept him out longer than idea so he could slow down Bottas for Vettel to try to pass. My point was simply that they didn’t maximize their points, which is what Binotto claimed. I’m not saying they were necessarily wrong to have tried something different, only that his statement was incorrect. It masks the fact they used Leclerc to assist Vettel.

        1. Sorry, always forget to tag @robbie

          1. @david-br I just don’t think they did anything to ‘assist’ Vettel but moreso as a team they were trying to assist themselves into the best plan to go after the Mercedes that were slowly running away. If it appears they were assisting Vettel so be it, but since there was nothing malicious in their plan to let SV by CL when they did, as he seemed to have more pace, this is how it shook out. Nothing today tells me they felt a need or had a reason for SV to gain more points than CL out of politics. This was just them going after Mercedes in a scenario that held small odds of them actually being able to do that, but they had to try.

          2. @robbie They clearly did this to assist Vettel. First they kept Leclerc back of Vettel to make sure the gap to Verstappen was big enough to protect Vettel from Verstappen’s undercut.

            Then after Verstappen went for the undercut and got past Leclerc. Now had they immediately pitted Leclerc after Verstappen, he could have gotten back at Verstappen and attacked him. Instead (like @david-br said) they kept Leclerc out in an effort to hold Bottas back so Vettel could potentially attack him.

            They clearly destroyed Leclerc’s race solely for the purpose of aiding Vettel!

            Let’s assume that Ferrari incorrectly assumed Vettel was faster than Leclerc. This was clearly wrong as they lost much more time when Vettel was in the lead. So that was a mistake. That could have happened. As Toto Wolff explained, it will always look like the car behind is faster if they are evenly matched and he’s in DRS range. Would Ferrari not have known this though?

            Still even if they actually thought that Vettel was faster, the only fair strategic choice to cope with this situation would have been to pit either one of their cars. That would have neutralized the undercut threat from Verstappen and allowed the other driver free air to drive unhindered by a team mate in front.

            Clearly they went with the option of sacrificing Leclerc in an effort to aid Vettel instead.

          3. @f1osaurus You have described events as you wish, to suit your point from the Vettel being favoured side, but I describe what happened as them having to make a decision as to how to reel in Mercedes, and at that moment that was not going to be by Leclerc slightly holding up SV, as the Mercs moved away. After that what appeared to you to be favouritism towards SV was actually dealing with the cards they were then dealt once even SV could not reel them in. Yes SV came out ahead of CL this time, but it was only through their best decisions at the time to try to maximize their result. Try to. That they didn’t fully succeed to your liking does not automatically mean they maliciously made a political decision against CL. They’ve already shown us they’re fine with CL passing SV and going for a win. Why would they ‘sacrifice’ anybody? They made a racing decision when Seb was faster. CL clearly did not show himself to be doing any better vs. Merc, nor Max. Had CL the genuine pace he was supposedly robbed from using, none of this would have happened and he would have held third behind rhe Mercs with SV fourth. If CL wants to avoid what happened again, he needs to stamp his authority on it with more convincing pace than he showed today.

          4. @robbie

            Don’t you think that Ferrari would have been maximising their chances in Australia and Bahrain by letting Leclerc past Vettel?

            I don’t see how asking them to swap positions when Vettel wasn’t that much faster was going to change anything. Yet.. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they did think Vettel was going to catch the Mercs. Why would they need Leclerc on completely worn out tyres hold Bottas up for a lap or two? Vettel was nowhere close to Bottas anyway at that point. He was 7 seconds behind. Wouldn’t the smarter decision be to pit Leclerc earlier and have him catch Verstappen? If they’re maximising the ‘team’ result then pitting Leclerc earlier would have been a better move.. Instead.. They were trying to maximise Vettel’s chances for P2.. Which looked incredibly slim either ways because he just didn’t have the pace to catch Bottas all race long.

          5. @robbie,

            1) Why did they not pit Leclerc or Vettel early to neutralize the undercut threat from Verstappen which they feared so much? They both were struggling on their tyres anyway.
            2) Why did they not pit Leclerc right after he lost the place to Verstappen’s undercut. Leclerc could at least have attacked Verstappen again.
            3) Even worse, what reason could they have to keep Leclerc out until he held up Bottas and then pit Leclerc right after Bottas got past?

          6. @f1osaurus Well, I’m not Ferrari making the decisions in the heat of the moment with the luxury of hindsight but I would say…
            1) initially their concern was the Mercs heading down the road, not Max.
            2) CL’s pace was still respectable and so they thought they’d be giving him the tire advantage at the end of the race, as we heard them say to Charles on the radio
            3) still for the tire advantage and if he could hold up VB then it was a good team decision to try to see if SV could get a second place and therefore more points for the team. After all, when this all started it was SV that looked to be being held up by CL. That SV didn’t ultimately have the pace was something they wouldn’t know until they released him past CL.

            Hindsight is 20/20 but your insistence that there is a conspiracy against CL and for SV blinds you to that reality. Can’t say I entirely blame you because Ferrari certainly has a history of it, but my opinion is that so far Ferrari are more concerned about stopping the Mercedes onslaught and figuring out their own car than who is number one and two. They are taking this one race at a time…one set of circumstances at a time. Did you hear of any great outcry from the team when CL refused the team order in Australia and backed that up with what should have been a win? No. They instead felt heartbroken for his mechanical woes. Does that sound like they’re all for SV?

          7. @robbie

            1) Initially their concern was the Mercs heading down the road, not Max

            That is not an answer to the question. That’s the reason why they swapped their drivers. By the time the Verstappen pitted, Vettel was already 8 seconds behind Bottas.

            The question is not what did Ferrari think around lap 10, but why did they not pit Leclerc just around lap 15 or 16? That’s when Verstappen came closer and closer because Vettel was actually slower than Leclerc.

            The other explanations go for the claim that Ferrari has no idea what they are doing. To be honest you might be right, seeing how poorly their strategic calls work out.

            What team order die Leclerc break in Australia? He was told to stay behind a very slow driving Vettel and he did. The fact that they asked him to stay behind Vettel at that time does tell me they are 99% behind Vettel yes.

            The fact that in 3 races they gave 3 team orders against Leclerc clearly demonstrates this too.

            The fact that they sacrificed Leclerc, at the very least initially, to neutralized the undercut of Verstappen for Vettel after Vettel ruined his tyres (trying to prove that he was actually quicker than Leclerc when he wasn’t) also proves this.

            Vettel was utterly useless in Bahrain, so of course they were rooting for Leclerc. How does that negate the fact that they are 99% behind Vettel? Besides, Leclerc finishing in front of Hamilton is a 7 points plus for Vettel.

    3. @david-br

      Exactly. When Leclerc was faster than Vettel in Australia and Bahrain, he was asked to hold position behind Vettel. What Ferrari failed to mention was that if Leclerc passed Vettel in Australia, there was slim chance that he could challenge Verstappen for the last podium spot in case there was a slip up from Max or a late safety car period. That would actually be maximizing their chances. Similarly in Bahrain.. Leclerc had race winning pace and would not be caught by Hamilton or Bottas if he was in front of Vettel (who was clearly struggling), but instead they ask Leclerc to hold position behind Vettel for 2 laps.

      In China, Vettel wasn’t any quicker than Leclerc. He was doing the same lap times.. And even failed to pull away when ahead of Leclerc. Yet Ferrari thought it was the better decision to swap their drivers.

      There’s zero credibility in Ferraris statements. If they genuinely believe that they’re right with their decision making, then they should throw away another world championship with ease this year as well.

      1. @todfod You are also using the luxury of hindsight. Also, Australia and Bahrain were not China.

        1. @robbie

          Shouldnt the approach to decision making be consistent though? If there’s a faster driver behind who can improve the overall team result, then let him by? Why are there double standards in their decision making? If the faster driver is Vettel then let him by and if the faster driver is Leclerc ask him to hold position or move over? Wouldn’t it just be simpler to say Ferrari is favoring Vettel instead of this convoluted nonsense they keep talking about?

          1. @todfod I just don’t see it the same way. They aren’t consistently favouring SV. But indeed SV was the faster driver, if only slightly, in China. To make up for letting SV by they gave CL a strategy of having fresher tires near the end and it almost worked for CL vs. Max. I’m sure Ferrari will be taking it a race at a time, and it’s going to be interesting to see what they do depending on if Mercedes are going to continue to dominate, or if indeed one or both Ferraris can lead them in the coming races.

            For me as another example, in Australia CL had blown his start and SV ended up leading in fairly short order. That CL clawed his way back was great but I can understand the order for him to stand pat as he had blown his start, SV was leading, a driver swap wasn’t going to change anything for them, so why risk a tangle, especially when they had no experience with CL in this scenario. CL ignores the order as he obviously has the pace, SV doesn’t complain, and we know the rest. That was not some malicious attempt to politically favour SV, it was just a racing decision and when CL took things into his own hands nobody really minded, as it became understandable once we and they saw his pace, once he was cleanly by SV etc. Everyone’s heart sank for him when he had his issue that cost him the win. There was no outrage from anyone at Ferrari, including SV, for his ignoring of an order. That’s because it was not a political order, just a decision they felt was right at that moment.

            I see these decisions so far at Ferrari being more about taking it a race at a time and about dealing with Mercedes with racing decisions, not decisions to favour SV just because.

    4. @David-br

      If you flip a coin, and I call either heads or tails, those are the right choices – even if a bizarre fluke sees the coin land on edge. Calling ‘edge’ would have been wrong, without hindsight.

      Ferrari were trying to maximise their points haul. You can argue they didn’t have a good enough model, but there’s no doubt that their model said this strategy had a higher _expected_ return. That doesn’t mean it’ll always turn out that way, but if you could rerun the situation lots of times then the strategy would come out ahead on average.

      1. Well that does explain why Ferrari keep making the wrong strategic calls. They might very well just be flipping a coin yes.

  5. If any of these reasons were true, they would have pitted Leclerc first when things didn’t work out.

    3 races. 3 times Leclerc has been told to be behind Seb. It’s not strategy….

  6. We’ve known since early this year that they intent to make Seb the No.1 in Ferrari this season with Binotto’s 50-50 comment. I’d expect we would see more of this shenanigans from Ferrari, but it won’t matter at all in the championship. Too bad for Leclerc, especially since Vettel hasn’t been delivering the performance of a No.1 driver.

    Considering few technical reports on Ferrari’s front wing configuration, I’m not confident they will be able to win the development race either this year.This might look like a pre-2017 Mercedes domination all over again, sans proper challenger in Rosberg.

  7. I have no problem whatsoever with “let the faster driver past” team orders. It’s only “hold positions” orders I have a problem with. It would be nice if both drivers were treated equally, but Ferrari have set out their position, and there’s not much we can do about it.

    Ferrari’s strategy was once again lacking today. When Vettel couldn’t pull away from Leclerc, they just sat back and waited for Verstappen to try the undercut. Then they reacted with Vettel and switched Leclerc to a different strategy. Having done so, they should have left him out as long as possible, to give him the maximum advantage at the end of the race. The idea is that once you’ve caught the car in front of you, you’d rather be, say, one second a lap quicker for three laps than half a second quicker for six laps. Instead they pitted him in “no man’s land,” as Sky’s commentators described it, and by the time he caught Verstappen, he wasn’t able to overtake.

  8. Sikander Mehdi
    14th April 2019, 16:21

    Both had same pace.They should have pitted CL before Vettle or at least immediately after vettle

  9. No, they would be 3-4. Due to inabillity of the team to execute the correct strategy correctly, they were then 3-5.

    Comparing Ferrari to Mercedes, they clearly strugle on race strategy. How decisions get done should be changed.

  10. Just watched the highlights. Always funny seeing Ferrari shoot themselves in the foot. Too early in the season to favour drivers like this… it will cost them.

  11. Ferrari’s just resorted to the team order tactics way too early into the season. I could perfectly understand doing so much further into the season, for example, in September or October if by then only one of the drivers had a realistic shot at the WDC anymore, but only three races into the season, and there have already been three cases of similar type by Ferrari in as many races.

  12. When the kid holds the record for the most consecutive race wins, the third most race victories and podium finishes, and the fourth-most pole positions in history… maybe he can think he’s anything else but a #2 driver.

    1. It does not mean your team is obliged to make strange decisions to get you 3rd place instead of 4th.

    2. Those days are long gone.

    3. Throwing stats of Vettel’s Red bull years is barely a justification of anything. He’s been slower than the #2 driver on 2 out of the 3 Sundays so far… And should have finished all 3 races behind him if it weren’t for team orders.

  13. From a fan’s point of view, the team order was rubbish and unfair on Leclerc. However, from a team’s point of view, it was the right desicion as Leclerc was the slower one in that moment. The main issue was the implementation of the team order. They literally waited for Max to catch up before they swapped. Had they done the swap sooner, he[Leclerc] would’ve most likely been able to cover Max or even overtake him at a later stage.

    Seeing that this season is quickly becoming a repeat of 2014-2016, Ferrari should let their drivers race and not focus on just putting one driver as their lead driver because I honestly don’t see Vettel nor Leclerc winning the championship this year. The Mercedes is just too good (all round). Ferrari’s look like they’ll be fighting against strategy, reliability and a general lack of coherence.

    1. @lebz

      However, from a team’s point of view, it was the right desicion as Leclerc was the slower one in that moment.

      That’s not true though. They were gaining 1 tenth of a second on Verstappen when Leclerc was in the lead and they started losing 1 tenth of a second a lap to Verstappen after Vettel took the lead.

      Also they lost 2 tenths per lap to Bottas when Leclerc was in the lead and .55s per lap after Vettel took the lead.

    2. @lebz

      I agree the teams have to do things that fans might not like, but it’s unrealistic to expect them to share points evenly between their drivers when they’re not dominant. The further behind they are,t he more important it becomes to maximise the points haul of their leading driver. Even a dominant team risks both drivers being beaten by a slower team if they’ve split the points.

      That aside, I very much doubt Ferrari have already given up on this season. They haven’t been bad, just worse than predicted by the pundits. A bit more luck and it would be 2-1 on race wins, and the whole story would be told differently.

  14. It is clear Ferrari stands by all their terrible decisions. It is the key reason they have yet to win a championship.

  15. Ferrari will probably fire this loser, as everybody hates him.

  16. The Masters was live whilst I was watching the F1 highlights on C4. I switched to the golf after seeing Ferrari switch Leclerc and Vettel around again, and didn’t look back. Utterly boring favouritism so early in the season.

    1. You didn’t miss much, worst race in a few years, can’t believe I voted it 5.

  17. Leclerc got the explanation that the team were trying for a 2-5 instead of the 3-4. That’s an utterly cynical way to put what they did.

    So they really just plainly told him that his own race was inconsequential to them and that all they cared about was the utterly futile attempt to get Vettel further ahead.

    1. Well 2-5 is 28 points with Mercedes scoring 3 less, and 3-4 is 27 points so effectively a 4 point swing in the championship so worth the gamble

      1. Everything else being equal and later in the season I would agree, but they aren’t going to be within 50 points at the end of the season.

      2. @philipgb Well that is true, but you need to keep in mind the probabilities.

        In reality they had:
        – 1% chance (well 0% really, but let’s be generous) of making that 2-5 work
        – 99% chance of ending up with a 3-5

        So the result would be: 1% * 4 – 99% * 2 = -1.94

        They needed a 33% chance of Vettel beating Bottas for that equation to actually break even. They clearly had nowhere near those odds.

        They clearly do not care for the WCC. They only focus on the WDC and then indeed it makes sense to sacrifice the #2 driver at almost every chance they get. Even for the slimmest chance of reward.

    2. @f1osaurus

      It’s in his contract. How much plainer do they need to make it?planner

      The reality here is that it makes no sense to take the role as Ferrari’s second driver and then complain about being treated as such. And in fact Leclerc hasn’t actually complained, it’s just the usual media story-creation.

  18. Hey, Leclerc, you’ve got the attitude of a good wingman.

  19. So much for “We’re going to let them race”. Three races in, three team orders.

    1. Yeah and doesn’t everybody say they are faster? lol Vettel has some pull, but he pulled it so suit just him. Bad call. He had a good battle there. The first in forever. He cruzed to his championships. But we knew that. Was good to see him fight though. He’s gotta prove it now.

  20. Keep at it Ferrari, Merc and RBR will sweep up while you’re messing around trying to prove Vettel is worth all the money you’re paying him.

  21. Leclerc told he wasn’t allowed to overtake vettel in Australia, told he wasn’t allowed to overtake in bahrain either (did anyway and drove away) and now told he had to let vettel pass despite him being no quicker,
    If ferrari wanted a number 2 driver then they should have kept kimi.
    It’s awkward when your number 2 driver is consistently outperforming the number 1.

  22. Real problem is the pathetic tyres f1 has.

  23. For mine, it wasn’t that they made the decision, it was that they took way to long to make it.

    By the time the order came through, Sebs tyres were toast and he couldn’t drive away. Had they made the call much earlier when it was obvious that Charles wasn’t driving away, it may have worked out completely differently.

    One of Ferrari’s failings has always seemed to me to be failings at the pit wall to make clear and rapid strategy calls and I really believe this showed yesterday.

    1. Could not agree more with more with this Ferrari not only waited too long to do this, but allowed Leclerc to use a higher engine mode than Vettel while dithering!

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