Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Ferrari drivers could repeat Sochi start tactics in Mexico

2019 Mexican Grand Prix

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Ferrari may repeat their start tactics from the Russian Grand Prix in tomorrow’s race, despite the arrangement leading to a dispute between its two drivers last time.

In Sochi Ferrari arranged for pole sitter Charles Leclerc to help team mate Sebastian Vettel overtake Lewis Hamilton by giving him a tow. Vettel also passed Leclerc for the lead as he did, and under their agreement he was supposed to let Leclerc pass him again.

However Vettel ignored a series of instructions from the team to relinquish the lead. He later admitted he had been “wrong” to stay ahead.

This weekend’s race offers an opportunity for Ferrari to use similar tactics. Like Sochi the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez features a long, flat-out run to the first corner, and the Ferraris are expected to qualify strongly.

Leclerc said the team will discuss its arrangements for the start and the drivers are prepared to go along with whatever they order. “First of all, I think we need to do a good position in qualifying both of us and then we’ll see how it goes. But we haven’t discussed a plan.

“We’ll be doing what the team asks so yes, of course, if they ask us to do so it will be done.”

However following his first-lap collision with Max Verstappen at Suzuka, Leclerc is prepared to be more restrained at the start of the race this weekend.

“I think in the first corner it was probably useless to take so much risk. I lost quite a bit of points. It was just a shame, it was probably unnecessary.

“Whether I would have done different something different going back it’s one of those situations where sometimes it’s hard. I just did a mistake and that’s it. I will learn from it from being probably a bit more careful for the next race start.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Ferrari drivers could repeat Sochi start tactics in Mexico”

  1. Clearly my poor team have learnt nothing at all

    1. To be fair, it’s just Leclerc saying “we’ll do what the team asks us to do” rather than him saying Ferrari will try this again. He’s even said “We haven’t discussed a plan.”

      1. Agreed, the only plan they should make is to not have a plan. They’re not fighting for either the WDC or the WCC titles, so what’s the point? The drivers standings? Fine, so then just race it out. If it’s a disadvantage to get pole due to the tow, too bad, or just don’t get pole.

  2. Ferrari loading the gun to shoot themselves in the other foot this time.

  3. Ferrari loves shooting themselves in the foot don’t they?

  4. Please, just don’t.

  5. One day the gun they use will be an elephant gun and they’ll have no foot left.

  6. Seems like they are digging themselves a bottomless grave.

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