Start, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Ferrari told Vettel five times he would have to let Leclerc by

2019 Russian Grand Prix

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Ferrari repeatedly told Sebastian Vettel to let his team mate overtake him in the Russian Grand Prix until he stopped replying to their radio messages.

While only a small excerpt of Ferrari’s instructions to Vettel were broadcast on the world feed during the race, the full exchange between the team and their drivers reveals he was told early in the race that he would have to let Charles Leclerc overtake him.

Ferrari revealed after the race it had made a plan for the start with its drivers. Under the arrangement Vettel would have to let Leclerc overtake him if he passed his team mate under certain circumstances at the start.

The team’s radio communications reveal Vettel asked them on the first lap of the race what their decision was regarding the start. He was advised soon afterwards they were “looking into swapping”. The team then advised him the swap would come “later in the race”.

After those two initial messages, and following the end of the Safety Car period, Ferrari ordered Vettel on three consecutive laps to give up the lead to his team mate.

After the first call to “let Charles by” Vettel said they should “break away for another two laps”. Following the next order, Vettel told the team “tell him to close up”.

On the next lap Ferrari told Vettel that Leclerc was “starting to close the gap” and to “let him by”. Vettel did not reply. The team later informed him they were “moving to Plan C” in their strategy.

After the race team principal Mattia Binotto denied either driver had gone against the team’s pre-race agreement.

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

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75 comments on “Ferrari told Vettel five times he would have to let Leclerc by”

  1. Making oneself look worse than monkies at work.

    1. Well, its a good acting by ferrari just to cool down CL heart and show him thst ferrari really care for him, which is actually “fake”!

    2. There’s way more to this than whats known publicly. There’s quite a few nuances that has to be considered before determine who was right and who was wrong. For sure Ferrari management messed this one up badly.

      If Seb agreed prior to the race to give back the place then I would say yes Charles was justified however, I think Charles needed to do his part as well by being fast enough to catch up to Vettel to justify the swap; he didn’t. It could be said that Vettel received such a nice lead because Charles didn’t challenge Vettel’s line before the first corner allowing Vettel to get launched. Vettel did keep having the best lap times afterwards, much better than Leclerc
      Having sad that, It would be totally crazy to have the leader slow down that much in the 1st part of a race on that race course. You never give away 3″ or more to the competition! Vettel was launched from the field, crushing it and once it was happening team should have done everything to keep that position. The Ferrari team and their strategist blew it.

      The Question is: Did Vettel burn up his tires and PU to get that significant lead and thereby destroying the pit strategy?

  2. Man Ferrari really need to fire themselves. I mean fine ok say the wrong driver got in the lead but that wrong driver was ahead by over 4 seconds and closer to 5. They could easily see the gps traces, the lap times the sector times etc on their gigantic displays in the pit. They should have told Leclerc to shut the fruit up and drive and stop whining like a beach.

    SO infuriating.

    Still was awesome to see Vettel show what he could do. Shame about the MGU-K. I loved the Sochi race didn’t like the mechanical failure though. Those balls to the wall laps were awesome when the Mercedes was chasing the Ferraris at the beginning. Then Valterri driving really well it seemed to bring out the best of the drivers. Lots of action in the midfield too.

    1. It was good race 🏎

    2. they already screwed Leclerc in favour of Vettel at Singapore. The guy clearly avoided any form of confrontation with Vettel on turn 1 only because it was Vettel, and they should forget all about it because Vettel was running on free air and obviously faster because of that ?

      If Leclerc was the one leading my bet is that he would be faster as well. The gap to Hamilton was safe. Vettel was only trying to delay it until after the checkered flag, maybe.

      Ferrari did everything right this time. They showed Leclerc that if he can’t trust Vettel, he can trust them.
      He lost the race but his relationship within the team only got stronger.

      1. You’re making just wild guesses. There’s no real proof that Ferrari screwed LEC in Singapore, yet this time around it was obvious they screwed VET. They were quite precisse too, they kept VET on-track until it was sure he would come out like 0.5sec behind LEC. Also, there’s no real proof LEC would have been faster if kept 1st at the start. VET managed to create a gap, although little by little, yet LEC had the chance to create a gap to HAM in Singapore… and failed.

        1. He was leading the race and lost position to the other car 4 seconds behind man, how come there’s no proof??
          You can say it wasn’t intentional and that is what is debatable. That they screwed Charles is not. It happened.

          Now they had an agreement, Vettel took advantage of it and the team had to do something to avoid repeating Singapore, cuz Vettel obviously wouldn’t change a thing about it.

          Ferrari already knows Leclerc is the future. Vettel is just a surplus who’s there with a contract to expire.

          1. You can’t just look at the gap and say “well that proves they screwed Charles over”.

            What we know is that Vettel was almost 4s behind and pitted one lap earlier. Your assertion would only hold true if Ferrari knew ahead of time that the undercut in free air would be worth more than that over a single lap.

            There’s nothing to suggest they knew that. They said they were surprised, especially given they asked Charles to push. Expert commentators said the same at the time.

            Whilst it’s possible they intentionally screwed him over in Singapore, the facts suggest it’s unlikely.

      2. Edvaldo, was the gap to Hamilton necessarily that safe in that opening stint?

        The relative gap between Leclerc and Hamilton from lap 3 – allowing for the early safety car as Grosjean’s car was cleared away – was as follows:

        Lap 3: 0.68s
        Lap 4: 1.71s
        Lap 5: 2.05s
        Lap 6: 2.64s
        Lap 7: 2.84s
        Lap 8: 2.68s
        Lap 9: 2.59s
        Lap 10: 3.66s
        Lap 11: 3.58s
        Lap 12: 3.58s
        Lap 13: 3.34s
        Lap 14: 3.15s
        Lap 15: 2.94s
        Lap 16: 2.87s
        Lap 17: 3.33s
        Lap 18: 3.27s
        Lap 19: 3.00s
        Lap 20: 2.79s
        Lap 21: 2.55s

        When you look at the times, the gap did sometimes increase where Hamilton had one or two slightly slower laps, but despite the fact that both Vettel and Leclerc seem to have been pushing quite hard, whenever the gap increased over 3 seconds, Hamilton was usually able to then chip away and bring that gap back down below 3 seconds.

        In that situation, if Vettel were to lose a couple of seconds in the process of letting Leclerc by – that is what it cost Ferrari to engineer the swap on track in the Chinese GP earlier this year, and I believe it was about the same amount of time that Bottas lost in 2018 when he switched places with Hamilton – then Hamilton would generally have been close enough to immediately start threatening Vettel’s position.

        Given that any switch between the drivers would have had to have been organised over the radio, which is available to all team, you can bet that Mercedes would have turned everything right up and told Hamilton to attack for all he was worth whilst Vettel was getting back up to speed.

        In that respect, I do think that Vettel was not being unreasonable to point out how close Hamilton was and how risky it would be to switch them on track – the way that Ferrari did eventually co-ordinate it, with pit strategy, was definitely the less risky way to do it.

    3. Leclerc was very sure, that Ferrari would stick to the agreement and let him past Vettel, which they eventually did. So, for what reason should Leclerc have tried to race Vettel?

      Vettel gambled and lost. Years ago, when he was a clear number one driver in contention for the world championship, Red Bull was willing to accept such behavior. Now, as a number two, Ferrari is clearly not.

      One question must be asked now: what use does Ferrari have for a number two driver, who does not play be the rules?

    4. that wrong driver was ahead by over 4 seconds and closer to 5

      In the final message to Vettel telling him to let Leclerc by, Ferrari told Vettel he was 1.4s ahead of Leclerc.

      1. I mean: “Yep, he did earn that pole…”

      2. And Hamilton?

        1. Exactly. I mean, for the of argument and putting aside how ridiculously silly the entire idea is. How stupid do you have to be to tell one of the drivers to slow down and go backwards in to your rivals just to let the team mate by? My god Ferrari.

          1. Mercedes did exactly that in Singapore to Bottas. He had to lap 3 seconds slower than the lead pace on fresh tires so that Han could come out of the pits in front of BOT.

    5. Except vettel only got in the lead because Leclerc was following the what the team said, Leclerc could have easily given Hamilton the tow and stayed in first and vettel stay in 3rd. Just like multi 2121 vettel is willing to follow the rules until it doesn’t benefit him. And of course the public doesn’t see vettel being a cheating little bitch because they don’t have the full picture

      1. Vettel had such a good launch that he would have got Hamilton no matter what. Even Sainz pulled fully ahead of Hamilton at the start. He launched slightly better than his team mate and far better than Hamilton and Bottas. Given that he instantly got by Hamilton (Leclerc did not help him archive this in any way) He was already carrying more speed than Leclerc that even if Leclerc wasn’t trying to help him catch up, he will have got him anyway into the first corner. Bottas got no help from a team mate in 2017 and he did what vettel did in this race. Jumped from 3rd to 1st pretty easily. Just relied on a good start.

        With the start Vettel had, i see no chance at all that he will have ended up 3rd at the first corner no matter what leclerc did. It would have been 2nd at worst if Leclerc had been unreasonably defensive.

        1. But Leclerc didn’t fight him at all. He would not let the inside wide open if it weren’t Vettel there.
          If he had went for the inside, Vettel would have to go to the outside or brake behind him. Both options probably would have Leclerc ahead after turn one.

          Vettel is the 4 times WDC there, yet, he is acting as he’s the one who just got there and might use some new and hard tricks to beat his team mate.

      2. the team also said to give him a tow in monza and spa which he totally never did in monza and tried to avoid or never did in spa too.. leclerc only wants rules to apply to seb and not him

        1. Vettel did not give Leclerc the tow in Monza. He tried to avoid being first in the queue by going through the chicane in Turn 1. I guess just like the rest of the media you just accept what other people say. How about actually watching the entire qualifying. I assume you are new to formula 1.

      3. Exactly right. Just the last race Vettel said no one should hold the view that they are bigger than Ferrari. And of course he is happy to say that nonsense when it benefits him – which it has done the entire season. Now, he is faced with it going against him, so he goes against what he publicly said. He clearly does believe he is bigger than the team. Vettel is a petulant spoiled child. Ferrari, please do everybody a favour and just let them race. Mercedes too. Bring back no team orders!

    6. Hakk The Rack
      1st October 2019, 7:27

      So you totally sure that Lecrerc knowing about the plan was pushing like hell?

  3. I’m not often one for supporting an insubordinate driver during a team orders incident, but I was fully on Vettel’s side with this. I understand why Ferrari put the plan in place, but to push for the swap to happen in the opening laps with Hamilton looming and Vettel clearly quicker than Leclerc was crazy. Vettel did not disobey team orders (as some have claimed), he simply suggested alternatives as following them would have led to gifting Mercedes 2-5 seconds (depending on the lap he did so).

    What would they have done if he had simply obeyed and let Leclerc overtake? Presumably he’d immediately be swarming over the back of him again, forcing both into errors and letting Hamilton into the mix.

    Classic Ferrari chaos.

    1. @ben-n Fair comment, Hamilton remained close, probably too close, to Leclerc for the swap to be safe, despite HAM being on mediums compared to the Ferrari softs.

      Perhaps Ferrari’s management anticipated before the race that Leclerc and Vettel would be more concerned with racing each other than stopping Hamilton from staying in second or even taking the lead? In a way, setting up this strategy may have been a way for Ferrari to ensure their drivers focused on the team 1 and 2, not on each other and proving who is the top driver there. Because actually that is the real issue for them, given the WDC is long gone. They both want to assure top ranking for next season, or at the very least not be classified as number two driver.

    2. Vettel pushed for team orders in China because he thought he was faster. They did it and what happened? He couldn’t pull any gap.

      Leclerc obviously would be faster if leading the race in free air as Vettel was.

      This did not look good for Vettel by any means. He was obviously not intending to yield the position and forced the team to do it on the pits without any of his assistance.

      1. Jonathan Edwards
        1st October 2019, 1:48

        There is nothing to back your assertion that Leclerc would have been faster. He may well have been, but to assert it as fact is wrong.

        Vettel burned up his tires due to unique circumstances in China. Had Ferrari made the swap sooner, he may well have pulled away.

        1. Jonathan Edwards, it is that situation in China which I think made Ferrari wary of trying to organise any sort of switch on track, as I do agree that it is not a given that Leclerc was faster than Vettel – it is just being automatically assumed by some that he must have been faster.

          I wonder what would fans here be saying if Vettel had agreed to switch position on track, only for Leclerc to be similarly matched in pace – in other words, a reverse of the situation in China? Would we still think that it was a smart move to switch them around?

    3. [Quote]Vettel did not disobey team orders (as some have claimed)[/Quote]
      Ordinarily your posts are spot on, but this is daft. Whether you agree with the decision or not, being instructed to do something and then not actually doing it is the very definition of disobeying.
      Once should be enough, 5 times is unacceptable. If my boss told me to do something 5 times and I instead responded by ‘offering alternatives’ and notdoing what was requested I know exactly what my employment circumstances would be.

    1. Your contribution is exactly that….

      1. Hardly, it’s not like I ignored an order not to post!

        Back in your box.

  4. I think a lot of people were influenced by the Sky commentary during the race.

    No one driver is bigger than the team. Mercedes domination is down to drivers complying to team orders. Ferrari need to let one horse go. That horse can go to red bull and get Run over by Max.

    1. Money might be an issue. I have big doubts RBR will pay VET even 20mil, 45mil is out of the question… when their best driver – VER – is payed like 13mil. If he’ll remain at Ferrari, wonder if they’ll continue to pay him that kind of money when LEC is doing a better job now for 3,5mil. Most likely Ferrari will pay LEC next year like 10mil, but it’ll be weird to still pay VET even double for a poorer job. Ferrari might do it tho, and VET might remain for the money.

      1. The reality is Vettel is on his way out, the amount of mistakes he makes is unreal, and even if Ferrari are dominating next season Lec will walk over Vettel 10-0 in qualifying is no joke ESPECIALLY if you have 4 titles to your name how is that even possible. Lec vs Ham vs Ver next season and the other three drivers are no where in talent to those three (I mean Bottas, Vettel and whoever goes to Red Bull).

        1. I wonder if ferrari is lining up a left-field name to replace vettel, like Sainz, for example. vettel’s stock has really fallen in the last year and a half.

          1. Maybe Alonso can come back or Sainz like you said or Kvyat maybe in 2021 to one of the three teams. Its all about giving the opportunity to these guys

  5. I really don’t understand why the tried to engineer this bizarre plan in the first place? It’s as ridiculous as anything I could expect from Ferrari. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for years.

    Leclerc won pole fair and square but that doesn’t mean he’s completely entitled to take the victory? The race is a different day. If the plan was to make sure Vettel jumped Hamilton, well that was sorted before T1 and after that I can understand why Vettel would go for the victory. Like his choice was give the slipstream to his team-mate and have a Ferrari in front or hand it to Hamilton and risk losing the lead to Mercedes. I just can’t imagine any logical scenario where they actually agreed on engineering the victory for Leclerc and Vettel was perfectly fine with it? Why on earth would anyone agree to that?

    More than that, why argue about it on the radio at the start of the race when everyone’s bunched up and risk losing a place or time to Hamilton, especially when Vettel was pulling away at a faster rate? The more that comes out about this silly scenario and the more they contradict each other the worse it makes everyone involved look to be honest.

    1. Can’t argue with any of that…

    2. If Vettel disagreed with the plan, he should not have agreed to participate it. But he did, and Leclerc let him pass without fighting for position, and then Vettel reneged on his word.

      Ferrari didn’t snatch defeat. The MGU-K breaking had absolutely nothing to do with this agreement. Without the MGU-K breaking, the Ferrari’s would have been comfortably 1 and 2.

      1. This is what Vettel is known to do, he likes to make it all about himself AFTER he makes an agreement with the team (Webber in Malaysia a few years ago multi 21), only cowards do that btw if you are going to snake your teammate from the beginning than just go for it dont make some verbal agreement than do whatever you want after thats so pathetic coming from a guy who got 4 titles in f1. And this whole argument about whether or not the slip stream should’ve been given, dude its a long straight they cant afford to give Mercedes the slip stream so it would have to be covered somehow. And the AGREED that Vettel would get it only to give back the place that is also because they could easily just fight for the position instead which could lead to double dnf/damage/etc. Thats what Ferrari tried to really do, ensure a 1-2. So As Lec said Ferrari gave him the lead with the pits and everything that was agreed upon was followed (because Ferrari knew Vettel wasn’t going to listen to the team so they took it into their own hands). Vettel was not willing to speak on the plan to media because his power move of not listening to the team was overseen by the team and met with another power move, they gave the other driver the lead on purpose and as always he plays the I’d rather not speak card knowing he was made to look like a fool for not listening to the teams plan from the outset, if he was going to fight fair and square from lights out without any agreements than do that instead of this no matter how far Hamilton is from you that doesn’t change anything. Period.

    3. Leclerc won pole fair and square but that doesn’t mean he’s completely entitled to take the victory?

      This is my main objection with all this as well. Apparently Ferrari agreed that if Leclerc got first to turn 2 then it was all good and if Vettel did then they’d swap places because he got a slipstream? “It doesn’t matter if you do it better than Leclerc because you’ll have to let him by”?

      Also, after seeing the start a few times, I’m rather confused about how they intended to “not give the slipstream to Hamilton”: if Vettel hadn’t had such a great launch, then Hamilton would’ve gotten his slipstream. With Vettel’s start, it was Vettel himself who gave Hamilton a slipstream. In any case, once Vettel had passed Hamilton, Hamilton would’ve had a Ferrari slipstream. Leclerc might as well have covered the inside, which he apparently tried only to realize that Vettel was already alongside him.

      TL;DR: apparently Ferrari just found out that the guy on pole doesn’t get a slipstream at the start.

      1. @warheart

        Presumably, if Leclerc had bogged down at the start and Vettel had overtaken him without a meaningful slipstream, Vettel would not have had to give the place back.

    4. Leclerc, acting in his own self-interest, would have moved straight over to the inside and towed Hamilton, who has less grunt in the back, and would then have had to overtake round the outside. Watch the 2018 start, Hamilton gets a great run but can’t succeed in passing round the outside. The result of that would most probably have been a LEC, HAM, VET order.

      Ferrari’s arrangements therefore make perfect sense.

    5. You’ve put your finger on something that’s been bothering me about the last couple of races – at least in the coverage. Sure, a team wants to be as fair as possible with their drivers, but only to the point where it starts to cost them something. The idea of swapping Leclerc back ahead of Vettel shouldn’t even have entered anyone’s mind unless both Ferraris were cruising to a 1-2 with a comfortable gap.

      1. that’s a good point. leclerc got a bit overexcited about not being given back the lead, but obviously it would have slowed them collectively. if anything, ferrari played it well by swapping them during the pit stops – it meant the agreement was ‘honoured’ (not by vettel, he would never have moved over!) and they kept 2nd place. it was only the reliability that prevented a ferrari 1-2.

    6. It was the most ridiculous thing I have seen since the Schumacher era


    I see people criticizing Leclerc and favoring Vettel over twitter and other social media, yet the reverse happened in China and Leclerc let Vettel by after some laps, which was still enough to damage Vettel tires and he wasn’t able to pull off from Lelcerc back them.

    But Leclerc did obey the team orders at that time.

    Like always it seems Ferrari doesn’t learn their lesson, you can’t keep calling for a swap so early in the race when the field is close with 2 stubborn drivers. They should have just told the drivers that Leclerc would pit first if he got behind Vettel after the tow, it would give a clear view of the situation to it’s drivers and it would have avoided all the drama.

    1. The later you swap them, the harder it is for the one getting swapped backwards, as there is simply less race left, so if you’re going to swap them, you need to do it as early as possible.

      An extreme example: if Ferrari did the swap on the last lap, Vettel would have had no chance to fight for the win.

  7. Last week Vettel said no one is bigger than ferrari, we race for the team. This week he ignored team orders. Racers, gladiators, fastest starter etc, I’ve heard a lot of comments regarding this race but the simple fact is that all 20 drivers are employees of their respective teams. I’m self employed but if I ignored my clients I’d have no work, when I was employed if I’d ignored my managers I’d have been fired for gross insubordination.
    I expect Leclerc to probably keep doing as he is told this season but next year I expect him to dominate Vettel.

    1. I generally try and keep my clients happy – and sometimes that means not doing what they’re (metaphorically) screaming in my ear for me to do Right Now, because what they’re asking me to do isn’t actually something they want.

      The important point there is that I have to be right, so when the dust clears and they calm down, they thank me instead of firing

      It looked to me like Vettel was right, and attempting to give the place up was insane.

  8. is this a weekly feature now?

    1. Breaking Red.
      Original series by Netflix

    2. Daily feature, till Suzuka

    3. @johnmilk There definitely won’t be one next week. As for the week after that, it’s up to the Ferrari drivers…

      1. @keithcollantine just the Ferraris?

  9. Can’t envy Ferrari, situation with drivers risks to become toxic – is no fun.

    Not sure what they can do now, both Seb and Charles want to be No1, both are annoyed they are not, one has speed, the other has experience and had authority…
    In the end everyone is unhappy.

  10. I wish every driver would ignore team orders every time in every race. What excitement that would be! Wouldn’t need any silly rule changes to make the sport more fun to watch.

  11. And 5 articles about the same exact topic.

  12. I wonder if all this will feature on “Drive to Survive”? Would be interesting if we could actually get snippets of the internal conversations happening at Ferrari.

  13. At least they had the stones to let Vettel hang out to dry. They should have immediately fired him though.

  14. If vettel was at all worried about making the swap so early on and insisted on them both pulling out a lead to Ham first, surely he would have raised this when they were planning it beforehand.

    He had no intention of following the order until the end of the race by which time he hoped Ham would have jumped leclerc at a pit stop anyway.

    1. I suspect the agreement was more nuanced than that. It appears the plan was around swapping back “in certain circumstances”. Vettel asked what the outcome was and was told “we’re considering swapping” (i.e. they were still deciding).

      After the race Binotto hinted that Vettel was correct in his assessment that he would have taken the lead regardless of what Charles did. Vettel would not have agreed to a deal that meant he couldn’t win the race (which would have been the likely result, if he had to give the place back merely for overtaking at the start).

      Ultimately Ferrari mis-calcukated because both drivers interpreted the deal differently, and probably legitimately too.

  15. I’m a Leclerc fan…but for how much longer? Since his first victory in Belgium, he’s quickly turned into Formula One’s villain. It’s as if after his first victory, he started believing the sport owed him something. Petulant. Entitled. Those are just two words to describe the way Charles has been acting lately. Vettel had the lead of that race fair and square, keeping Leclerc comfortably at bay; it’s not as if Charles was hounding him. If the roles were reversed, it’s not as if Charles wouldn’t have ignored the “agreement” either. Of course he flipping would’ve.

    1. Vettel had the lead of that race fair and square

      I saw how hard Leclerc defended against Verstappen and Hamilton in Silverstone and Moza. I saw none of that in Sochi. So it’s safe to conclude that he just let Vettel through as was agreed.

  16. Meh what happened to the good ol fashioned overtaking for position?

    Multi21 Seb! Multi 21! Let Leclerc by. Sure let him close up. Let the Leclerc pass. Sure he needs to come closer… Drives away… Plan C.

    Meanwhile me the spectator cringing at the sight of all this.

    When Leclerc won two races it was fun, exciting. This now is a farse. They look unprofessional.

    1. They look just plain stupid.

      Whatever Vettel did or didn’t do, the whole issue for me is how stupid making a “pact” on what happens at the start of a race. Anything can happen and trying to organise an outcome over what happens over those 1st few corners is quite laughable.

      OMG. Asking drivers to swap places later in the race is one thing. Organising a swap based on the start of the race before it’s even begun is without doubt a farce and make F1 look even more stupid that it already looks.

      For someone who said they’d shut up about tactics, Lemoan’s statement was utterly worthless. Ferrari in the past would tell their no.2 driver to shut the hell up and do what they are told. Not that that’s a good thing, but this is embarrassing for everyone involved.

  17. No one knows the detail of the Feerari inner workings, but If fault must be placed, i feel Ferrari is the one to own.

    If the drivers were able to fight freely (with discretion) at the start of the season, they would not come to the point where driver A owes driver B a favour or vice versa.

    The moment the team makes a decision to benefit the other, then the other expects it back the next round, then it goes back and forth. Something is bound to happen because no one likes being locked into the next obligation.

    Also, micro-management can backfire when they don’t think through every possibility. Any vagueness ends up confusing the driver, then one would probably pick to win first and talk second. How do you gauge if it was bad start or it was benefit of slipstream while going 200-300 km/h inside the car and busy actually fighting.

    I am sure some drivers have intention of gaining and advantage, but some drivers may have just ended up with an advantage because the team decided for the drivers and getting the fans angry.

    Anyhow, what a mess. I think it would be great if each driver have their own strategist who will fight for their best approach, but I’m not sure how that would work with only one pit space a d shared pit-crews.

  18. Patrick Down Under
    1st October 2019, 2:09

    Remember (I think) Imola 1988, Prost-Senna ‘gentleman’s agreement’? Once the visor goes down and the lights go out, there’s always a technicality you can exploit…’well, I didn’t REALLY break the agreement PER SE’ ! And so the internal angst begins…
    How hard can it be for all the grown-ups, or whatever they are, at Ferrari, to sit down and say ‘Just come out of Turn 2 in first and second place and keep those Mercs behind, okay?!’
    The more self-regulations you make, the more opportunity for a stuff-up and the subsequent family feud.
    Vettel is a racer. LeClerc is a racer. They both hate to see Mercedes winning. Ferrari did this to themselves.

  19. Initially, the fact that they tried to find a common solution for the start beforehand, shows that there isn’t great trust between the drivers. Russia has this big straight with the slipstream effect being massive, and then there is the tight turn 2 where is super easy to have contact. With both Ferrari’s starting on the good side of the grid and on softs, it was almost inevitable that they would have been 1-2 after turn 2. It seems that after Monza and Singapore, there are some serious trust issues between the Ferrari drivers. Then, the agreement said that Vettel should have given the position, but smartly Vettel, using the extremely difficult-to-follow layout of Sochi, kept a bigger gap than the wanted, and as a result the swap never happened. Amateur time by all parties

  20. “Vettel surprises fans, team, team-mate by behaving like Vettel” would be my headline.

    The only thing stopping people liking it or being so surprised is his tendency to feign ignorance in interviews… If he just said, “yes I fooled everyone again and I’ll never hand over an advantage” he’d have as many fans as MSC or RAI!

    1. @webbo82 remember his absolute refusal to acknowledge he did anything wrong in Baku 2017 for weeks. This is why I can never ever get behind the guy, all smiles and family values up front but poor sportsmanship, denial, entitlement and yes, lack of skill on track behind it all.

      Meanwhile all Lewis Hamilton has to do is breathe and social media goes into meltdown about his “behaviour”.

  21. You do not count Monza when Leclerc intentionally didn’t follow the pre-race agreement. Why you think that Vettel should follow the agreement this time ?????

    And what the agreement ? The third place is better than first in Sochi during the start. Everybody would have passed Leclerc either Ham or Vettel no matter what they toked about.

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