Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Singapore, 2019

Ferrari didn’t warn Leclerc they had pitted Vettel

2019 Singapore Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc was unaware he was at risk of losing his lead to Sebastian Vettel because Ferrari did not tell him his team mate had pitted.

A disappointed Leclerc revealed he had been unaware of his team mate’s strategy, which allowed Vettel to run on fresh tyres a lap earlier than his team mate and helped him to take the lead.

“You don’t see the full situation as a driver,” said Leclerc. “You only see your situation so it’s very difficult to know who has pitted behind.

“I was not aware Seb has pitted,” he confirmed. “Obviously for me I couldn’t have asked anything more than I did. I obviously did not expect Seb to pass me and it was frustrating from the car.”

Vettel received his instruction to pit at turn 20 on lap 18, shortly before the pit lane entrance. Leclerc, who had been controlling the pace at the front of the field in line with the team’s strategy, was not told that Vettel had pitted or that he needed to increase his pace. He covered the middle sector in 42.7 seconds while Vettel, on his out lap, was over 1.7 seconds faster.

Ferrari advised Leclerc to prepare for a pit stop once he was more than halfway around the lap, telling him “mode box”. But this left him unclear whether the team was preparing to pit him, and he asked for confirmation as he approached the pit entrance.

Afterwards Leclerc admitted he was frustrated by the situation but added “I also completely understand if that this decision had been taken it’s for sure for the good of the team.

“But it’s hard to understand in the car. It’s frustrating. I’ve had a good qualifying yesterday, I’ve done everything, I stick to the plan at the beginning of the race.

“We had to slow down as much as we could for the pit window to not open for the others and then started to push. I did not expect the undercut. But it’s life, sometimes it goes that way. I’m happy for the team anyway.”

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Team radio transcript: Leclerc and Vettel’s messages from the pit stops


19To Leclerc:Pit stop gap 18 seconds.
19Vettel:Go down three clicks.
19To Vettel:Copy that.
19To Vettel:Charles lap time 9.0
19To Leclerc:Hamilton behind at 1.2. Hamilton with DRS.
19To Vettel:Turn 20
Box Sebastian, box now.
19To Leclerc:Vettel pits
And Hamilton with DRS. K1 plus available if you need it.
20To Leclerc:Hamilton with DRS.
20To Vettel:In pits
Mode box, mode box.
20To Vettel:On the white line, racing Hulkenberg.
20To Vettel:Push on the out lap. You are in free air.
20To Leclerc:Turn 13
And mode box. Hamilton with DRS.
20To Vettel:You are racing Hamilton, and push.
20Leclerc:Box this lap or not?
20To Leclerc:Box now, box. Box now, box.
20To Leclerc:K2 on.
21To Leclerc:And reset brake balance, reset diff. Will be close on Sebastian on exit.
21To Vettel:SOC 2.
21Vettel:We cleared him already did we?
21To Vettel:Not yet. Push. Half a second.
21To Leclerc:Leclerc rejoins the track behind Vettel.
And K2 off, K2 off.
21To Vettel:SOC 2 and push.
21To Leclerc:We need to push as much as you can.
21Leclerc:Yeah but what the hell? I mean…
21To Leclerc:We are tight with Hamilton.

NB. Notes in italics are not messages

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100 comments on “Ferrari didn’t warn Leclerc they had pitted Vettel”

  1. I have only two ways to rationalise that move by Ferrari:
    – they use LEC as bait, as a mean to lock the win – but they wouldnt do the reverse.
    – VET contract have a hefty financial compensation in case of a no wins season.
    At least in the past, they had the face to tell – Fernando is faster than you.

    1. Seems that Hamilton saw it right – they did this on purpose – keeping Leclerc out, driving slow enough that Vettel would jump both of them – so that they could get a 1-2 ahead of the Mercedes.

      This makes it clear why Leclerc did not speed up in time – since he never was told they would be passed. From the radio messages, it is clear that Vettel knew very well what was happening there.

      Clever strategy to win, I guess.

      1. @bascb if that’s the case, I’m OK with that. Seeing all these comments today, defending one or the other driver, is kinda disgusting as a Ferrari fan. I have preferences, but Ferrari will always be more important than the drivers. I think this was also the vision of the Drake.
        If we have a man on command that is strong enough to take this kind of decisions, without looking at the names of the drivers, that’s great. This is what the late Sergio Marchionne would have liked.
        Ferrari is not competing for the championships today; scoring a 1-2 is an amazing morale booster, on a track where they should have been on the back foot. This can have long-term positive consequences in Maranello.
        If 2020 project will be a championship contender, Mattia will have an enormous job to do with the drivers: I like to think that he’s already showing his hand, as a manager who places the interest of the Scuderia above everything.

        1. Drivers should be informed about this (Intrest of the team above all else). Even if this was the unintentional strategy they did that part well.

          Mercedes tried to hold off with Bottas aswell, to gain some position for Hamilton aswell. So teams try to do this with mixed success.

        2. @m-bagattini – Except this isn’t being done for Ferrari, this is being done for Vettel, as it has all season. Vettel was given preference in Australia even though Leclerc was faster at the end. Okay, it’s the first race, right? Then Leclerc is faster at Bahrain and they tried to hold him back. They gave Vettel preference in China but when it didn’t pan out they didn’t give Leclerc the place back. There have been multiple times now where Leclerc was not given information that Vettel had.

          Leclerc has more retirements but is ahead of Vettel. Leclerc has more wins (even with this gift), more poles, is ahead in the points, and was leading the race. How many more #1 driver indications do there need to be before Leclerc gets preference? Or at least told what is happening so that he can properly react to his team backstabbing his race to favor Vettel?

          I get it is a team situation, but it only makes sense to demoralize a driver if you are trying to push your lead driver forward. Ferrari aren’t doing that here.

          1. “How many more #1 driver indications do there need to be before Leclerc gets preference? ”

            4 x Formula 1 World Driver Championships.
            And not screwing your teammates quali lap when you’re in your first season as a rookie in a top team. That was low…
            Don’t forget who his manager is and how he is trying to push his driver to make the wrong decisions to shine some light on himslef… he needs to take it step by step to be a great champion one day…doesn’t have to be rushed.

          2. @v8-4ever – That doesn’t mean anything this season when he is behind and the WDC is over all but mathematically. Ferrari said when it was 50-50 they would lean Vettel’s way. This was not 50-50.

            Have you forgotten Multi-21? Why would anyone trust Vettel as a teammate? If Vettel makes moves to screw over Leclerc, so be it. I do not expect Vettel to play fair, be a good sport, or behave. But Ferrari screwing over the driver who is leading their team and is their future, is a bad idea.

            Also, anyone who leans on past seasons is an ass of the highest caliber. If he’s that good, let him prove it. Thus far he’s been given every deference and is still behind his less-experienced teammate. To be fair, he didn’t make that claim to the past, you did it for him.

          3. I get your point, but unfortunately you lack the necessary big picture view.
            Let me clarify, Ferrari doesn’t need Leclerc, Leclerc needs Ferrari to become a champion one day. He needs to play fair, to prove him self in a clean way, like all the others before him. He didn’t play clean in Italy quali. That was it for me, if a young gun starts doing those things because of his manager, I don’t trust him a bit.
            In regards to the multi-21, he had the pace, he could overtake and he did, he was defending champion, 3 times champion.
            Leclerc hasn’t proved anything of the sort, he did however ask for full power to overtake after the restard of the SC, but guess what…he just couldn’t keep up.
            He didn’t hav the pace to create a gap when he was told to push, he didn’t have any race pace, therefore he doesn’t deserve the win as much as Vettel.

          4. @v8-4ever – We disagree on what the big picture is. Ferrari need Leclerc or someone like him. Ferrari could not win with Massa, Alonso, and haven’t yet with Vettel. As good as Vettel has been in the past and to some extent still is, his time is ending. Whether that is this year or 5 years. Leclerc is clearly on the way up. I am not saying that Ferrari need to bow and defer to Leclerc. But they should at least be fair.

            How did Leclerc not play clean in in the qualifying for the Italian GP? Vettel didn’t give Leclerc a tow in the first Q3 run, that was a Renault. The second run in Q3 was a cluster, but it’s Leclerc’s fault?

            The problem with multi-21 is that Vettel went against team orders. Did what he wanted. So even if you somehow fault Leclerc for qualifying at the Italian GP, how is that any different? If Leclerc was supposed to skirt around all the slow cars and lead Vettel, and simply chose not to, why is that any different than multi-21?

            So here is where we get to your real concern, that champions or team leaders should get preference. Except Vettel hasn’t won any titles for Ferrari. Vettel is behind his somehow unproven teammate, according to your description—funny how unproven he is even though he has more poles than any driver this year and leads his proven teammate in points, poles, and wins. Vettel gets preference already almost every time, even when he has been slower. Had Vettel given Ferrari a WDC or WCC last year, maybe I could understand. But he hasn’t.

            Ferrari set up the cars to get pole at the expense of race pace. Ferrari dictated the early pace to constrain other teams. Leclerc did as he was told. They gave the preferred strategy to P3. You just argued that results (3x WDC) should get preference based on performance, but when Leclerc outperformed everyone else and did as he was asked, he doesn’t deserve the win.

            To be clear. I have never said Leclerc deserved the win or was owed the win or was entitled to the win. All I said was, he should have had access to the information pertinent to his race. And when someone in P3 is only a few seconds behind, pits for fresh tires that will be much faster, and the track is all about position, that is (in my mind) pertinent information that needs to be shared.

        3. Ferrari is a political heap of dung team. What’s disgusting is anyone being a fan of them.

    2. Vettel are covering Verstappen from undercut.
      Passing Lecrec are the bonus.
      Case close

      1. indeed. they told him he was racing lewis, not charles.

        1. yep. forgot to mention Vettel are racing Hamilton too.

          we don’t know anything about Vettel or Charles strategy before the race.
          as we know, Singapore is about strategy and the strategy could be change during the race.

          so c’mon Charles, don’t be a crying baby.
          If you could do what Ricciardo do to Vettel on RBR, you will be the number 1 driver at Ferrari.

          Hope we will see another epic race on Sochi

    3. maiagus: VET contract have a hefty financial compensation in case of a no wins season.

      You mean Ferrari has to pay Vettel for winless season? This must be a joke. If the car is noncompetitive they may have to pay but if the other guy in the same car wins two GPs in a row and on the route for the third one they SHOULD ask Vettel to return a part of his salary.

  2. From the timing data, I don’t think it really mattered. Leclerc was told to start pushing on lap 15 to build a gap to Hamilton. He should have been going as fast as he could at this point anyway, and it was clear that he was not able to gap Hamilton. He extended by 2 seconds very briefly, but that gap was clawed back within a lap and a half to less than a second.

    Keith, we really need the radio transcript from earlier, including Verstappen’s. I suspect when Vettel was called in at the last few seconds , Ferrari were trying to avoid the undercut from Verstappen because shortly before this he was complaining about grip and we could see his mechanics pulling tires off the rack. There was a gap opening between Stroll and Grojean when Perez pitted which was right where Vettel slotted in. By then, Stroll had pitted and Hulkenberg had passed Grojean, so we see Vettel rejoin in front of Hulkenberg instead of Grojean, and RB probably hoped to slot Max in there but missed it slightly because Hulk passed Grojean and was setting faster laps.

    I seriously doubt there was some grand conspiracy to deny Leclerc the win, but rather a necessity not to leave Vettel vulnerable to the undercut. There was little they could do about Leclerc’s lack of pace except pit him after, and Vettel did the rest with his very quick out lap.

    1. I suspect when Vettel was called in at the last few seconds , Ferrari were trying to avoid the undercut from Verstappen because shortly before this he was complaining about grip and we could see his mechanics pulling tires off the rack. There was a gap opening between Stroll and Grojean when Perez pitted which was right where Vettel slotted in. By then, Stroll had pitted and Hulkenberg had passed Grojean, so we see Vettel rejoin in front of Hulkenberg instead of Grojean, and RB probably hoped to slot Max in there but missed it slightly because Hulk passed Grojean and was setting faster laps.

      +1000000 Exactly this! It was obvious at the time and even more so retrospectively. But lets have another 10 or 20 ‘articles’ on the subject about it without mentioning it. Only 1 or 2 on Bottas being instructed to go 3 SECONDS A LAP SLOWER!!! to make sure that Hamilton gets out ahead of him….Hmmmm one might suspect a little bias creeping into this site which I would have vehemently defended just one or two years ago.

      1. @asanator @lunaslide – The Bottas call was ugly and egregious. The only slight rationale is that Hamilton was the lead driver and is leading the WDC. I don’t agree with the call, but maybe one could argue that. And Bottas was at least told what was going on.

        For Ferrari, they are not protecting their lead WDC driver, they did not protect the lead driver in the race, and they did not inform Leclerc what was going on while Vettel had all the information to attack Leclerc.

        There was a difference, but both were bad.

        1. @hobo

          The Bottas call was ugly and egregious. The only slight rationale is that Hamilton was the lead driver and is leading the WDC. I don’t agree with the call, but maybe one could argue that. And Bottas was at least told what was going on.

          I thought so too, at first. I even said so in another comment. But the more I consider it, the more it resembles the scenario of Vettel and Verstappen.

          Red Bull were the most aggressive as usual, but they tipped their cards just a little too early. They pitted Verstappen because his tires were almost dead in an attempt to under cut the three in front. Ferrari caught on and managed to get Vettel in at the last second on the same lap, leaving Max behind him. They pitted Albon the very next lap to under cut Bottas, but his in lap was not nearly as good and he wasn’t as close to Bottas as Verstappen was to Vettel. Bottas still had to come in to cover off Albon though because the under cut was so strong, so he came in two laps later. Then he had to slow Albon to prevent the under cut on Hamilton. Hamilton was spot on when he radioed for the under cut on lap 19, it’s too bad the pit wall didn’t listen to him. Even if it meant pitting the same lap as Leclerc and coming out just behind him, he would have been in a much better position to fight. They might not have had any idea Ferrari would be as good on the hard tire as they were unless they noticed Vettel’s out lap.

          Had they not asked Bottas to slow Albon, Hamilton could have got stuck behind him and even after getting past him and being let by Bottas, he would have had a much harder time catching Verstappen, Leclerc, and Vettel. As it turned out, 3 safety cars in short succession ruined any remaining chance of Hamilton fighting them. But if Merc didn’t compromise Bottas, and he had been under cut by Albon, it is unlikely he could come any better than 3rd even if there were no safety cars, and that’s only if he managed to pass Verstappen. Possible, but tough. Even with better lap pace at the start, he wasn’t able to get past Leclerc on the first stint and it looked like the straight line speed of the Ferrari prevented him from setting up an over/under pass because he just couldn’t get close enough even with DRS.

          Basically, Merc made a mistake by leaving Hamilton out instead of pitting him the same lap as Vettel and Verstappen, or even Leclerc. Even if they had, the gap between Stroll and Grojean that opened up when Perez pitted still might not have worked as well as it did for Vettel, but I think it would have worked even better because Vettel slotted in right at the end of that gap and Hamilton was in front of Vettel. After that mistake, their options were very limited and they were stuck with two bad options: use Bottas to hold back Albon or let them both under cut Hamilton. The second option would have given Hamilton no chance to chase down the leaders.

          1. @lunaslide – Nice synopsis, and I understand why Merc thought it was a good idea. But it was still an ugly call. And just proves how far out of contention Bottas really is that they would 1. make that call, and, 2. he would comply.

        2. @hobo Nonsense, that call gave Mercedes a 4-5 instead of a 4-6 result. Mercedes blundered with their strategy and after that asking Bottas to create a gap for Hamilton gave the best result they could still go for.

          1. @f1osaurus – Here is some actual data. Therefore I assume you will dismiss it.

            Going into Singapore Hamilton was 63 points ahead of Bottas and 99 ahead of his nearest non-Merc rival, Verstappen at the time. This is assuming I’ve done my maths right, but even if I’m off 5 points, it doesn’t matter here.

            A 4-6 is 20 points for the team, a 4-5 is 22 points. Going into the race, Merc was ahead by 154pts or thereabouts. They don’t need points for the team. And points actually cost them money next year, so unnecessarily collecting points is useless.

            They were protecting Hamilton, which is their right as a team to do and especially so for their championship leader. But it was ugly. They tried to salvage something for Hamilton at Bottas’ expense for no real reason. Hamilton would need to crash out at 3-4 races to lose the lead (depending on who won those), and the team would need to double default on 3 with Ferrari taking 1-2s. There is no threat to either championship and saying otherwise is silly. Please do go on.

          2. @f1osaurus I have to agree with @hobo on the priorities aspect of this. The situation of Ferrari is different to what it is for Mercedes. Without some terrible misfortune that takes the team out of contention for the rest of the season, Merc has pretty much got both championships in the bag. For them right now, it is about the wins. Chances are fair that they would have ended up 4-5 either way, because even if Hamilton rejoined behind Albon, his fresher tires and far greater experience with Marina Bay would very likely get him back ahead of Albon. And Mercedes could always just tell Bottas to let him by to try to chase down the leaders because he has much newer tires. But how long would it take him to get past Albon? How much of his tires would he use up to get by him? Those factors would make the probability of the race win much less likely. As it was, he could at least catch up and start working on Verstappen for a podium position, and he very likely would have got past him had it not been for three safety cars when he could not fight for position. So unlike hobo, I don’t agree that it was for no real reason that they slowed Bottas for Hamilton. It was very clearly to still have a chance for the race win.

            For Ferrari, on the other hand, Red Bull have made strides toward passing them for second in the WCC until their recent run began at Spa, and Verstappen is already ahead of them both for WDC. And some of RB’s best suited tracks are still to come, especially Mexico. It is critical for them to bag as many points as possible and retain their lead ahead of RB, more for their prestige than for the prize money. If one or both of their drivers pass Max along the way, so much the better, but with Ferrari the team ultimately comes first.

            I definitely think it sucks for Bottas, and he should have a real good think about always giving in without a fight because “those are the rules”, because he will never be a champion with that mindset. The rules within a team are only the rules until someone comes along and rewrites them, and those drivers are called champions. Everyone seemed to think it was kind of pointless and cute when Rosberg won that string of races at the end of 2015. But Nico carried that momentum into 2016 and before Hamilton could really shake himself awake that season, he had a brutal fight for the championship that he ultimately lost. Sure, some unreliability played into it, but that is always a possibility and it’s part of the sport, and in the end he still earned it. Bottas should really go back and look at what Rosberg did to beat Lewis that year, because he is going to have to work even harder that he did to ever win over Hamilton. The cars are more reliable now, and Lewis is better than he’s ever been and he hasn’t had one of those sleeping spells since.

            After this race, anyone who can say with a straight face that Ferrari are monstrous tyrants about team orders and yet somehow Mercedes are not, they are unequivocally being delusional.

          3. @hobo What on earth are you babbling about?

            Mercedes preferred a 4-5 over a 4-6. So who cares what you think would have been right. As established before, you don’t have a clue anyway

          4. @lunaslide

            After this race, anyone who can say with a straight face that Ferrari are monstrous tyrants about team orders and yet somehow Mercedes are not, they are unequivocally being delusional.

            Nope, you are simply misreading the situation. Mercedes is actually relentlessly fair with their pit stops and that is exactly what causes situations like this.

            Bottas got the undercut on Hamilton, because for Bottas they had to cover Albon’s stop and that is not allowed in their “doctrine” as it’s unfair to Hamilton. So they asked Bottas to keep the slot free while Hamilton was up front waiting/hoping for a Safety Car and trying to offset the tyres to Ferrari (which helped him win in Hungary).

          5. @f1osaurus I wasn’t making the point that Mercedes are tyrants about team orders. I’m making the point that Ferrari is not like the Ferrari of old. They are not being tyrants with teams orders like they did with Schumi and Alonso. In fact, they sometimes struggle now with what to do when one driver upstages the other during a race. I’m talking to the conspiracy theorists who claim Ferrari engineer these Machiavellian schemes to favor one driver over another when in fact they actually have difficulty getting out of their own way on strategy.

    2. I sort of agree with you @lunaslide, though the

      20 Vettel: We cleared him already did we?

      20 To Vettel: Not yet. Push. Half a second.

      part does suggest that Vettel and engineer might have been gunning for Leclerc (even if only bc. that makes sure he’s ahead of HAM?)

      1. @bosyber Hard to know if they meant Hamilton or Leclerc unless they tell us. It makes complete sense they would be trying the under cut on Hamilton, and it even makes sense to try to under cut Leclerc. The two sides of the garage are in competition with each other, after all. All that I’m saying is that the initial call almost certainly has more to do with Verstappen than it does with Leclerc. And quite frankly, if Leclerc didn’t want to be under cut, and he was capable of greater pace than he was showing, he should have drove faster. If he couldn’t go faster, that sucks for him, but it’s racing.

        1. @lunaslide – I’m fine with intrateam battles. But telling one side everything (Vettel) and the other side nothing (Leclerc) doesn’t work.

          Even with all the benefit of the doubt, assuming Ferrari were sacrificing Vettel to hold off Verstappen undercut and it was a last second decision and they didn’t know how good the new tires would be etc., etc. They still should have told Leclerc that he was under threat and needed to push ASAP.

          Your last point “Leclerc should have drove faster” is disingenuous at best. He was driving how the team instructed him. Do you honestly think he was driving that pace in the first stint against team direction? Yes Leclerc should have worried about all of this as well—because if HAM had come in when VET did, HAM would have jumped LEC as well.

          But he trusted his team. To me that was his biggest mistake. Ferrari have hung Leclerc out to dry more than once this season, he needs to realize that.

          1. You really need glasess real quick.
            He was told to push from lap 15…and yet his pace was still poor… Vettel pitting or not doesn’t matter…he couldn’t open a gap when he was told to do so.

          2. @hobo Well, I’m not trying to be disingenuous and I didn’t mean to sound flippant that Leclerc should have simple gone faster. I think Leclerc was trying to do exactly what Ferrari told him to do on lap 15: driving as fast as he could to build a gap to Hamilton. But his pace on the softs was not good, he was not able to gap Hamilton, and Hamilton had two seconds a lap in hand over his pace judging by the lap he did after Leclerc pitted (1.47.0 compared to Leclerc’s 1.49.6 in lap). I genuinely don’t think Leclerc had the grip to go faster than that given the way he was getting off the corners. The only thing that really kept him in front was the straight line speed. Vettel’s soft tire pace wasn’t a lot better, but he did manage to do an in lap a second faster. What really made the difference was Vettel’s superb pace on the hard, and Leclerc was able to match that pace on the same tire. But that one lap of Vettel flying and Leclerc struggling sealed his fate, and whether he knew about Vettel pitting or not would not have made a difference in the result.

            Maybe they should have told him. But what if they did and Leclerc pushed too hard with poor grip on a street course where one mistake means the wall? It’s also not like Ferrari, or anyone else in on that pit wall, is clairvoyant. They probably didn’t suspect Vettel would be able to pull out 4 seconds on his out lap like he did. It might have been as much a surprise to them as it was to Leclerc, but a happy one that gave them an unexpected 1-2. If the teams all had the kind of foresight some of the commenters here give them credit for, there would be no reason to run the races.

          3. @lunaslide – But we don’t need to go down the path of “what if…”s. All I’m saying is, tell him that Vettel pitted from third and he needs to push. After that no matter what happens, it is on Leclerc’s shoulders. If he cannot make up the pace, if he wrecks, if he stops and has an ice cream [ :) ], it’s his doing. What they did is to not tell their leading driver about threats to his lead. Which they failed to do previously this season. Psychic abilities are not needed.

          4. @hobo I’m not trying to be obtuse, I totally get what you are saying. If I’m in one of those seats, I want to know what is going on whether I can do something about it or not. It would let me set my own expectations so that when it doesn’t go down in my favor, I understand why and how. A huge part of being an adult in the world is understanding how to set reasonable expectations in your mind to tame your own emotional reactions to things. It’s something a lot of people currently lack in the Western world right now, and it shows in a big way. Had Ferrari simply told Leclerc “Verstappen is an under cut threat from behind, we’re pitting Vettel to cover him off.”, it would have still been disappointing but understandable to him and maybe he would not have been so vocal on the radio about it. Mercedes is very good at managing expectations, by the way. Most people call it “Toto playing games”, which is also true. Ferrari have been notoriously BAD at it, which is in large part why it looked so bad when they came out of testing the favorites and promptly fell flat on their faces.

            Maybe Charles had some pace in reserve, which would then beg the question of why wasn’t he using it. He hardly needed to be told that Hamilton was a threat, he could see him in the mirrors and he could feel his tires going away. The under cut is no secret in Singapore, everyone knows it is a fact. So why didn’t they pit him sooner, before Vettel? It was too early (which Vettel also felt), and perhaps the math didn’t show the gap there for him yet to run in clean air. I think they would have wanted to keep both out a bit longer if their tires had lasted better. If those safety cars had not happened, and critically, if Mercedes did not get their calculations wrong, it could have been a very different race at the end.

            I do believe the trigger for all of this was Red Bull, seeing that Verstappen had the pace to stay tight with Vettel and probably go faster than both Ferraris on the soft tires if he was in free air. That was the first domino to fall. Unfortunately for them, and uncharacteristically for Ferrari, the strategist for the latter team was really on the ball in this race and immediately knew to call in Seb. It wasn’t clear that they had done enough laps to make the one-stop work, but despite that risk they didn’t hesitate and reacted instantly to the threat. That effectively nullified RB’s attempt to under cut them. Ferrari deserve massive props for that because they typically dilly dally and blow it in the races they lose through strategy.

            But to play devil’s advocate for a second, let’s look at Ferrari’s past behavior. They play their cards very close to the vest in general. They hide their cars, they issue very terse press releases, they don’t talk about contracts, they don’t actually communicate very well even when they really need to (Binotto has been better, but still in character). You hear them less on the radio than either Red Bull or Mercedes on most race weekends, and when you do they use codes. And going back as far as anyone remembers, Ferrari doesn’t work for drivers, drivers work for Ferrari (Schumacher being the major exception, Alonso being a minor one). Teams technically have zero obligation to tell their drivers anything but the bare necessities and Ferrari plays it that way far more than anyone else I can think of.

            I honestly think they hurt themselves with this playbook more often than they help, but it’s hard to deny that that is their way of going about their business. So it’s not at all out of character for them to do this, and to what extent probably depends a bit on the particular driver. Vettel definitely wants to be more of a Schumi than a Raikkonnen and involve himself in the strategy games.

            I’m not saying any of that is fair, or right, or even good for their prospects. But it is very much who they are. That’s what makes me think it isn’t so much a matter of favoring Vettel over Leclerc as it is Ferrari being Ferrari. But one thing is for sure: Leclerc is their future and they’d better build a good relationship with him if they want him winning championships for them instead of for someone else. They had better not play the “you drive for Ferrari” game too hard with Charles, because he’s clearly not going to put up with it just to wear red. Vettel may still have some great drives in him yet, and could maybe even win another championship if the 2021 regulations give him a car with a planted rear end like he prefers. That is entirely possible with the shift to ground effect generated down force. But he isn’t their future, and I doubt he’ll ever catch Hamilton’s soon-to-be 6 WDCs, and Ferrari would be wise not to build their brand around him instead of Leclerc.

            Sorry for the essays! I have to admit that the cat and mouse strategy games of this race really engaged me, and for the first time I think I was able to see what was happening in real time and realize how the dominoes would fall. I probably enjoyed it a lot more than most people, judging by the comments. :)

          5. @lunaslide – No apologies necessary, you make great points. I don’t recall where I said that this is at least half on Leclerc for trusting the team after all they have done to him, but I agree with what you are saying here. I wasn’t trying to argue with you so much as vent frustration with how they did things.

            I enjoyed seeing how all things happened as well. If Singapore was slightly better for passing (not giving them away like Canada or Spa DRS) so it was an option, and if Leclerc had more info, this could have been a real burner of a race.

          6. @v8-4ever Leclerc pulls almost a 2s gap on Vettel in those few laps. What more can one expect? Leclerc just wasn’t able to pull a gap on Hamilton, but that was because Hamilton was simply faster.

      2. @bosyber Think it’s pretty obvious they’re talking about Hamilton. Last communication to Vettel was they were racing Hamilton. So “him” would be Hamilton as well.

      3. They were talking of Hamilton. This was referenced a few times on the radio transmission.

    3. Great clarifying comment!

  3. Oh so sad.. Ferrari did it again. Now no matter what Charles did for Ferrari especially in front of Tifosi he is still the no 2 driver. I just can’t stand Vettel’s attitude after the race. If not for Charle’s pole position Ferrari would just have one podium in this race. No wonder Charles was so frustrated. I wonder what would have Vettel done if he was in Charles’s place.
    But it was a brilliant move from Ferrari in terms of strategy. Killed many birds in one shot. Mercedes yet again failed despite having a faster car over the race distance.

    1. More like “if not for Vettel’s help, Leclerc wouldn’t have won in Italy”… Besides if you can’t stand Vettel, then go watch something else???

      1. …nor in Belgium (for HAM)!

  4. Rather like Monaco 2018 when Seb’s team mate also
    was kept in the dark…

  5. Remember this Canada 2019

    And it keeps happening again.. So sad for Leclrec

  6. Maybe next time trust your team less Charles and pick up the pace.

    1. Yeah…and the team shouldn’t trust him either…Monza Quali… he played dirty… he should expect dirty. (even though this wasn’t dirty at all, by the book if I have to say)

      1. @v8-4ever Leclerc came out in front in Q3. Then Vettel overtook Leclerc.

        Vettel caused that situation himself and then blames others. As he always does.

    2. And how should he know when to pick up the pace if he was told to cruise around?
      The only thing they should’ve done was warn him to floor it because he was pitting within the next laps. Even that they didn’t do.

      It definitely looks like they allowed Vettel to have a go at him and go with it having worked or not.

      Ferrari’s management is unbelievable. They’re more than happy to take every avoidable crisis possible.

      1. He was told as of lap 15 y speed up. He did not.

        1. They have access to all his data.
          It cost him the win. If he didn’t picked up the pace immediately, they should have sent the message again. It’s not like there’s a restriction of radio messages anyway. He could’ve gone faster, that’s for sure.

        2. Actually, he did pick up the pace after told to push. He quickly built 2 sec gap over Hamilton only to loose it again. I think he mught have pushed too hard and ruined his tires.

        3. erikje nonsense. He did pick up the pace. He pulled out almost 2 seconds on Vettel and more on Vesrtappen.

          Leclerc only couldn’t shake Hamilton, but Hamilton claimed he was faster so that makes sense.

  7. Maybe y’all are forgetting what happend at Italy? Vettel did help out his team there didn’t he? And now suddenly he’s the bad man? Atleast admit this is Ferrari’s mistake. Not the drivers…

    1. All I see is two Ferrari in the top spots of the podium. Where do you see a Ferrari mistake?

      1. …for th first time this year!!! So, +1!

      2. @m-bagattini I guess the “mistake” part was putting Vettel in front of Leclerc. Ferrari expected to undercut Hamilton, they most probably didn’t expect to undercut Leclerc as well.

  8. Tbh I don’t think Ferrari figured Vettel would make the undercut work anyway, and probably used him not only to cover Verstappen but probably provoke Mercedes into doing something with Hamilton. I really don’t believe there was any sort of conspiracy against Leclerc going on here? His whining on the radio was really disappointing to hear.

    1. @rocketpanda – Ferrari should have informed Leclerc. Even if everything else was blind luck that helped Vettel, they should have told Leclerc.

    2. I don’t think that was disappointing by any means. The guy is on a roll. More pole positions than any other this season, should’ve won FOUR races already counting this one. He is clearly their fastest driver and suddenly the team benefits the other guy? He has reasons to be unhappy.

      Leclerc is a very, very bad loser. And that’s a great thing.

  9. The real problem here is drivers driving at pace several seconds behind ultimate pace, conserving tires. If Leclerc was driving as fast as possible no way Vettel would have overtaken him. But Leclerc was driving just fast enough to not let Hamilton pass him.

    Vettel sized the opportunity, while Leclerc was conserving his tires. Ferrari team like always even in times of great strategy success still failed to notify Leclerc to speed up. Maybe with goal of holding off Hamilton, but just maybe.

    1. @jureo The question to ask here is: if Hamilton had pitted, wouldn’t Ferrari have told Leclerc to pick up the pace? Obviously. So how come they ‘forgot’ to say the same when Vettel pitted?

      1. Because they are incompetent. They made so many blunders this year, I wouldn’t hold them overly accountable.

        The real question is also why didn’t Mercedes pit right away?

        1. Ferrari “blundered” their way to a 1-2 finish?

          Mercedes didn’t pit right away because if you watch all of their other races this year, they never pit right away. They’ve gotten lucky that their drivers have been able to track down the leaders when the leaders’ tires wear down late in the race and Mercedes have newer tires. It didn’t work here because with all of the cautions the leaders’ tires did not get worn down.

      2. Except that they’d already told Leclerc to get a move on to build a gap to Hamilton. He should already have been going as quickly as he could to do that. Knowing about Vettel would not have changed that. I don’t think Leclerc had the pace, otherwise he would have done it and Vettel would have slotted into that gap between the two. It looked like Leclerc was struggling on the softs at that point and was getting as much as he could, it just wasn’t enough.

        I think they don’t tell drivers some stuff intentionally, and it might have been the case here too, but we just don’t know. The fact that Leclerc had already been told to push several laps prior makes it irrelevant.

        1. @lunaslide +1. I also think that Ferrari didn’t believe Vettel’s out lap on hards would be as fast as it was. Which again speaks to how slow Leclerc was going.

      3. Leclerc boxed the very next lap. Pretty sure “Box now” also means “drive your pants off”.

        1. @asherway At almost the end of the lap …

          1. @f1osaurus Leclerc was between turns 8 and 9 when Vettel exited the pits. They told Leclerc to pit at turn 13 (not the end of the lap).

          2. @asherway Nope, they tried to tell him at turn 13, but he didn’t hear/understand. So they repeat the message LATER on.

            Besides, I didn’t sat AT the end of the lap, i said ALMOST at the end of the lap. Even turn 13 leaves pretty much nothing for Leclerc to counter. As far as he knew he simply had to keep Hamilton behind.

            They should have told Leclerc IMMEDIATELY the moment that they boxed Vettel.

  10. If it was intentional, i mean if they intended to restore Vettel’s self confidence a bit, then its very likely, they ‘d like to keep Vettel for next season. And why wouldn’t they? He’ll be at least a good nr2.
    Signing Ricciardo, who is maybe a bit better than Vettel, won’t be cheap, as he has a super wage at Renault now. Although if i were him i’d driver for Ferrari for half of that.

    Although it was less than nice to undercut to your teammate (other half of the team) who is likely saving tyres to be in the safe zone till the end. I think at an environment where strategy has a lot of role, doing things like the Leclerc’s saving strategy at the start, is necessary or atleast affordable to be random enough to have a “completely” balanced game.
    Its affordable until you have the power of surprise. But the other part of the team had the intel, and did
    the undercut, what was not elegant. If that was planned then was only a bit more elegant than disobeying MIX12.

    Leclerc has a lot inside, i still cannot even estimate how good he’ll become. The only thing what can maybe prevent him from being a giant is maybe the whining we heard similar to Alonso’s or Vettel’s worst ones.
    Hes quite young to do that too much.

    I have a theory what made Vettel so much a whiner. He maybe collapsed under the weight of the 4 world titles achieved faster and easier than anyone comparable. He collapsed, because after time he realized
    he was a very good guy at a super-good place at the best time, and thats gone, and maybe never comes back. I won’t say he cannot win a title anymore, but it will be hard with anyone as teammate from the following list: Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Leclerc. Albon and Bottas maybe, and then there is Russel, an another-who knows-how-good-he-is-guy, or maybe Norris. GBR has a damn good pool of formula racing talents now.

  11. Hamilton was right.

    They kept LEC in the dark so that VET can get ahead of them after the pit stop.

  12. If this was the first time this happened, then give Ferrari the benefit – this is I believe the 3rd time they have taken a win or lead away from Charles this year and promoted Vettel.

  13. nothing special here, only the usual anti-vettel bias from keith. why did you forget to cite this as well? no need to answer

    Leclerc stressed that it was unlikely he would have been able to react with a faster in-lap had Ferrari predicted he would be racing his teammate for the lead. “At that time obviously the tyres were quite dead.”

  14. Vettel helped many times to Leclerc, Ferrari finish 1st and 2nd. British media trying to write a different story as usual.

    1. Lol smoke up buddy smoke up

  15. Ferrari used Vettel to try to ensure that Leclerc kept the lead and had equal tires to Hamilton for the rest of the race, and here is why I think that to be the case:

    Lets look at a scenario like last race were Vettel is a non-factor and its 2 Mercedes against Leclerc. If Ferrari leave Leclerc out too long, Hamilton will pit before him and undercut Charles. Mercedes wins, Ferrari loses. If Charles pits before Hamilton, then Mercedes leaves out both cars and uses Bottas to slow Leclerc down enough that Hamilton can rejoin right behind Charles in DRS range with much fresher tires. It would only be a matter of time before Lewis passed Leclerc, again Mercedes wins and Ferrari loses. Both are bad options on a track that should have been a much better track for Mercedes than for Ferrari.

    Now lets add Vettel back into the mix. Before Hamilton or Leclerc pit, Ferrari pits Vettel. Hamilton is now at risk of the undercut to Vettel. Immediately Mercedes have lost the option to leave Hamilton out longer, as this would require him to pass 2 Ferraris at the end of the race instead of 1, which is much less likely to happen. Hamilton’s best chance for victory was therefore to pit the very next lap, and Ferrari knew this. Ferrari could then also pit Leclerc the very next lap, which all but guarantees he will stay ahead of Hamilton on track and have equal tires the rest of the race. Ferrari hoped a secondary benefit of this strategy would be that Vettel was fast enough on his out lap to maybe pass Hamilton and give Ferrari a 1-2. I don’t think they saw it coming that the undercut would yield a 4 second advantage over a lap for Vettel, hence why they didn’t tell Charles to speed up. They thought needed Hamilton as slow as possible to try to help Vettel pass him, when in fact they needed Leclerc to push to ensure he stayed ahead of Vettel.

    Ferrari were playing a team strategy move to try to ensure they achieved victory, and possibly a 1-2. It worked far better than anticipated, and as a result Vettel ended up in first rather than 2nd as thought. If Ferrari had only focused on trying to get Leclerc the victory, Mercedes would have likely used team strategy to steal the win from them. Ferrari hit the strategy bang on, while Mercedes missed the mark, and the results show.

    1. That is totally true my friend, except you forgot to add that this was the only way Ferrari got a 1-2. You can consider all other scenarios its always maximum Ferrari 1-3.

  16. It’s his race engineer’s job to tell him that. A driver needs to be able to trust his race engineer, and Ferrari just demonstrated to Leclerc that he can’t. Not sure if that’s worth the additional 3 points.

    1. Leclrec was already told to push in Lap 15. They’ve given him everything to push starting lap 15. I think this is the start of the downfall. Leclrec pull a couple seconds gap only to be reeled in back by Hamilton, I suspect because he worn his tires too fast, thus he doesn’t have a pace anymore that’s why Vettel was able to undercut.

  17. It’s very simple, they tried to undercut Hamilton and avoid the undercut from Verstapen. But their fault was not warned Leclerc about this strategy. Why? They didn’t believe Vettel could return ahead of him. And that’s pretty evident in the radio messages. It was just a mistake and that’s all and Leclerc should understand that and didn’t become a cry baby.

    That being said, this is a thing that would never have happened to Hamilton, Alonso or Schumacher. When you don’t see your team mate in your rear mirror you accelerate or ask the team immediately.

    End of story.

  18. Regarding the Bottas call I absolutely LOATHE hearing a team telling a driver to drive slower. Absolutely disgusts me. That’s not racing it’s pure management interference. I’ve been wanting so much to see Vettel win a race this season after messing up chances so far but not this way.. Didn’t feel good at all.
    Was kinda really hoping Seb would show consistency here and reverse the 1st and 2nd car position boards like he did in Canada. That would shown pure class and a sense of humor. Plus Leclerc would no doubt be mightily impressed.

    1. Was kinda really hoping Seb would show consistency here and reverse the 1st and 2nd car position boards like he did in Canada.

      I was wondering if Leclerc might…

  19. Anyone work out how many more points Leclerc would have this season if Ferrari had been supporting him over Vettel? I wonder if he could be WDC 2019 if he had been supported more?

  20. Come on Charles at least they didn’t ask you to go 4 secs slower

  21. I do not recall having seen so many different articles posted on this page last year when Bottas was told on track to let Hamilton pass. No big deal that time, big deal this time.

    1. Probably as Mercedes are favouring their better driver, with Ferrari it’s the other way around. These decisions could mean Ferrari miss a title.

  22. wait I’m confused… sixth line on the transcript they did tell him right?

    18 To Leclerc: Vettel pits
    And Hamilton with DRS. K1 plus available if you need it.

    BTW love to see more transcript like this, where to read more of it?

    1. I’m pretty sure the italicized text, like Vettel pits is indicating something that happened at that moment, not something communicated over the radio.

      I would really like to see the full radio transcript for this race, which might clear up a lot of this stuff we can only speculate about right now.

    2. No, to be clear, the sections in italics are notes, not messages. I’ve added a note explaining that.

      1. If you subscribe to F1 TV, you can watch the race in entirety from in car video with radio. Very interesting but it lengthen my time of watching F1 to almost entire day

      2. @keithcollantine I do have a question about this, though. I think I know the answer, but perhaps you can confirm:

        18 To Leclerc:
        Vettel pits
        And Hamilton with DRS. K1 plus available if you need it.
        18 To Vettel:
        Turn 20
        Box Sebastian, box now.
        19 To Leclerc:
        Hamilton with DRS.
        19 To Vettel:
        In pits
        Mode box, mode box.

        Why does it first say Vettel pits on the lap 18 message to Leclerc, but then shows the message to Vettel to box after that? Was this the broadcast delay?

        1. @lunaslide Sorry the order was not quite correct there. I’ve amended it to the best of my ability, however it’s not always possible to say with certainty whether a message to driver X was given before a message to driver Y or, indeed, whether they were simultaneous. But certainly the ‘Vettel pits’ note shouldn’t be before the ‘box now’ message.

          And you cam now read the full transcript here.

          1. @keithcollantine Thanks, that makes sense. And thanks for the transcript from Ferrari. I’ve remembered I can go back and do the same for Verstappen for myself. When he gets called into the pit seems like a key piece of this story.

      3. Oops, also meant to ask if the full transcript is available somewhere. What I really want to see is the message to Verstappen to pit, which wasn’t broadcast nor reported by the Sky crew. I’m curious if Ferrari were reacting to the message, just watching RB’s pit crew, or serendipitously decided to pit Vettel into the gap behind Stroll at that miraculously fortuitous moment.

  23. Very mature response from Leclerc. It seems Vettel’s only chance of winning against Leclerc is through these strategy games. Is this situation, in any way, similar to Monaco 2007 where McLaren is said to have engineered Alonso’s win by putting Hamilton on an inferior strategy?

    1. @pt The way McLaren gave the win to Alonso in Monaco 2007 was really premeditated though. It already started in qualifying where they insisted on giving Hamilton more laps of fuel on board making him slower by about 6 tenths per lap.

      I don’t think Ferrari planned to gift Vettel the win, but when they clearly didn’t help Leclerc prevent the undercut either (by not telling him that Vettel had gone for the undercut).

      1. So Monaco 2007 was way more diabolical.

        1. @pt Yes, McLaren was actually investigated for illegal team orders.

  24. They were talking about Hamilton. It was referenced a few times on other radio transmission

  25. Ferrari got a 1-2 for the team, obviously it was the right strategy. Neither driver is in contention for the championship, the team comes first. Anyone who doesn’t understand this must be pretty naive.

  26. John Ballantyne
    24th September 2019, 2:06

    Ferrari are terrified of upsetting Leclerc, the young buck now has Ferrari exactly where he needs them! Time to negotiate a better deal.

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