Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2019

Leclerc says he left Vettel enough space in race-ending clash

2019 F1 season

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Charles Leclerc says he left team mate Sebastian Vettel enough space before the collision which put both Ferraris out of the race.

However Vettel insisted he “didn’t have much space” when the two made contact.

Leclerc had just passed Vettel for fourth place and was being re-passed by his team mate when they tangled on the approach to turn four. The pair made wheel-to-wheel contact which forced both out.

“From my side I overtook in turn one, I enjoyed this overtake,” explained Leclerc. “Then in turn three I had to close because I was aware Seb will try again, and he did.

“He went down the outside. There was little space, I left the space, he took [me]. And then towards the end of the straight he started to squeeze me a little bit to the inside and we were very close.

“Everything happened very quick. As soon as he went to the inside we touched and then I had a puncture.”

Leclerc said he hasn’t spoken to Vettel about the collision yet. “But I am pretty sure we are mature enough to put that behind us,” he said.

“At the end we feel both of us extremely sorry for the team. This is the end result. Both of the cars didn’t finish and that’s very disappointing. We will put that behind [us] and we will continue to work together.”

Vettel suggested Leclerc didn’t leave him enough room before they made contact.

“At that point I didn’t have much space on the right,” he said. “I had a better run out of turn three and tried to pass.”

“It’s a shame for the team obviously we didn’t finish the race,” he added.

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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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60 comments on “Leclerc says he left Vettel enough space in race-ending clash”

  1. That’s a cheeky choice of image. Very nice :)

    1. That gap looks more like a restraining order.

      1. Ferrari’s 2020 rules of engagement, made with 20-20 hindsight :)

    2. indeed, some dark wings on Seb’s car. Pretty accurate.

  2. Having rewatched the incident, I think it is quite close to a racing incident. Vettel made a small steer to the left and they touched thus retiring both cars. In another case perhaps nothing would have transpired. Vettel should have gone straight though. No point in taking risks.

    The important thing of this is that neither will follow any team order from now on I am sure. 2020 will be lit between the two.

    1. Forgot to mention that the fault is mostly on Vettel.

      1. How is any fault for this on Leclerc?

        Vettel suddenly moves a full car width to the left. Straight into Leclerc.

        1. It wasn’t sudden. And, to be fair, Hamiltons incident today was much worse. But with much less consequence.

          1. @magon4 it was sudden.

            Vettel takes out his team mate. With an on purpose move.

            Hamilton sees a gap (which Albon admitted het left) and goes for it. Bad judgment, but nowhere near the deliberate foul play of Vettel.

        2. Exactly. Same as Turkey 2010.

          Vettel is alongside and thinks he can dictate what other cars for him, and just steers towards Leclerc.

          You would think he’d learn after all this time.

    2. Vettel was swinging left a bit. But Leclerc was also swinging right a bit. So, i’d say – racing incident.

      1. LeClerc moved to the left to give Vettel more space. Despite this, Vettel crashed into him.

      2. @regs I have no idea what replay you were watching, but Leclerc quite clearly moves left.

  3. In my view totally Vettel’s fault. He’s know Leclerc has the pace on him for a while and this looked to me like a ‘back off, I’m having the space’ kind of move. Leclerc has no obligation to do so and then contact etc. I think it shows how desperate Vettel is getting to try and reassert himself at Ferrari.

    1. @jack1501, mind you, didn’t Leclerc make a very similar move against Norris in the opening laps on the run towards Junção, where he was on the outside and then turned quite sharply to his left and forced Norris to have to swerve to avoid contact?

      1. That is what made LeClerc a hypocrite after the race. You can’t do it to others then cry when its done back to you. Completely Vettel’s fault but I wouldn’t Crow about it if I was LeClerc.

        1. There was an in-car replay of Leclerc’s “move” on Norris. He didn’t actually turn the steering wheel at all to the left towards Norris to “scare him off” or to otherwise try to hit him.
          They were coming out of a corner that turns left, Leclerc drove onto a curb on the exit and kept turning left at the same rate as he was turning during the corner until he was off the curb, after which he straightened his car. Norris just made a very sudden move to the left, perhaps he wasn’t expecting Leclerc to move his car fully back onto the race track or something.

          1. And how is that relevant? Leclerc’s move was much more aggressive than Vettel’s.

  4. Leclerc showing with a mature talk that he’s more deserving of the Ferrari #1 spot than Vettel.

    While Vettel is blatantly lying again.

    This was basically Turkey 2010 all over again. As Webber explained, Vettel thinks his car ends behind his seat.

  5. Vettel just loves to squeeze his opponents off the track like he did with Hamilton at the start of Mexican GP. This time Vettel had to pay for his dirty tactics.

  6. Blaize Falconberger (@)
    17th November 2019, 19:36

    Totally Vettel’s fault – he did what he always does, cutting across the front of another driver before he is fully past and then blames them for being there. Thsi is what happens when the Vettel red must descends. I’m not impressed.

  7. Blaize Falconberger (@)
    17th November 2019, 19:36


  8. Fire Vettel, hire Hulk and make Charles the number 1.

    1. @velocityboy Man that would be such a dream situation. At this point vettel is more a liability than an asset for the team.

      1. Already posted this in another thread above but here it is again:
        There was an in-car replay of Leclerc’s “move” on Norris. He didn’t actually turn the steering wheel at all to the left towards Norris to “scare him off” or to otherwise try to hit him.
        They were coming out of a corner that turns left, Leclerc drove onto a curb on the exit and kept turning left at the same rate as he was turning during the corner until he was off the curb, after which he straightened his car. Norris just made a very sudden move to the left, perhaps he wasn’t expecting Leclerc to move his car fully back onto the race track or something.

        1. Argh, wrong thread :E

    2. I was just discussing this! This would be a dream pair if Ferrari has to beat Lewis and/or Max next year.

  9. Ferrari need to get rid of vettel, the only reason they still have him around is because of good pr having a champion other then that vettel would have been out of a drive long ago

    1. To me, Vettel is the worst F1 champion of 21st century. I see him as a waste of time for Ferrari.

  10. Charles my boy. For vettel there is never enough space. He will find various ways to ruin his and his team’s chances whenever he can.

    1. Like @anon mentioned, please the Norris-Leclerc incident from lap1.

  11. Webber held his line. Seb definitely turned left, albeit only a little. An unfortunate result. They were on for a decent result. Oops! I mean Charles…

    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      17th November 2019, 19:57

      You’re right, we’ve seen this all before…

      As we say, if you crash into an idiot, fair enough, but if you keep on crashing into idiots, it’s not them, it’s you!

  12. LeClerc left exactly 1 car width to his right, but not before the incident, a long time before that. Vettel moved to a very tiny space in the first place, and proceeded to steer left, ala Istanbul 2010.

    Very clumsy move by Seb.

    Should they have left more room to each other? probably… but going for that little gap and then trying to shut the door, however slightly, rests a lot more blame on Vettel.

    1. I guess Verstappen isn’t the only one who needs extra room.

  13. Well, your car says otherwise 😆

  14. You don’t leave your teammate that little space. It is literally irrelevant who is at fault for this collision, even if the Vettel hatedom (amazing how strong it is despite the Vettel domination now being half a decade old) sees this as another thing to crucify him over.

    Poor showing from both drivers and honestly, if capable drivers with superlicense weren’t so damn rare these days, I’d bench both of them for Abu Dhabi just to get the point across. The WCC place is secure, so let them sit at home in the metaphorical corner and let them think about what they did. You do not race that hard against your teammate. This is motor racing 101.

    1. Seb had plenty of space, he wasn’t on the grass or anything – Leclerc was driving in straight line not pressuring him.

      He then wanted to slice across the front of Leclerc but misjudged it…as usual.

    2. At the point they touched, there was quite a lot of room to the right of Vettel. Leclerc had moved a bit to the inside after Vettel started the overtake, so no, Leclerc didn’t leave very little space. Vettel just tried to squeeze Leclerc and Charles had none of that (rightly so, he has no reason to leave more room when he’s already left a good 3m, at least).

      1. There’s two cars wide of space to the left of Leclerc. Again, it doesn’t matter who did what. If you wanna say Vettel shouldn’t have made that attempt, that’s true as well. But he did and therefore Leclerc should’ve moved more to the inside to avoid crashing with his teammate. It doesn’t matter, again, it’s your teammate and you are fighting for nothing. No title on the line, neither of them is driving for a contract, so if that is the case you do not fight each other as hard as Vettel and Leclerc did. I am looking at this from Ferrari’s case and am reminded of that Ice Age quote: “I don’t care who started it, I’ll finish it!”

        1. So Vettel suddenly swerves into Leclerc and it’s Leclerc’s fault for not jumping out of the way?

          1. It’s Leclerc’s fault for being so close to Vettel that Vettel could swerve into him. You are not paying attention to my point.

            Let’s, just for the sake of the argument, assume Vettel is 1000 percent at fault and is literally too stupid for wheel-to-wheel racing. Then Leclerc still should’ve known and either back out or otherwise maximise the distance between himself and Seb (as he could’ve done, I refer to my two car widths comments above) for the sake of maximising the team result. Leclerc was not racing a Red Bull or Mercedes, he fought the guy who drives for the team that pays Leclerc’s certainly not-starvation-level wage. If you don’t have to secure a world title or a job for next year, you have to make 1000 percent sure that you do not cost the guys who pay for your livelihood by crashing both cars out, even if your teammate is – in this hypothetical scenario – a complete baboon.

            Again, the same also applies to Vettel. Second thought exercise – Vettel is 0 percent at fault and Leclerc willingly and viciously tried to keep him being at any cost. Then Vettel should’ve known that and not attempt that overtaking maneuver when he did, because if you don’t have to secure a world title or a job for next year, you have to make 1000 percent sure that you do not cost the guys who pay for your livelihood by crashing both cars out, even if your teammate is – in this hypothetical scenario – a complete madman.

            And given as neither of these extremes are true, the point I am making still remains valid. Both of them acted like idiots and if Ferrari have any sort of competent management left, both of them will be torn new orifices behind closed doors. Unless something really big is on the line, nobody has ever any sort of justification for getting involved in an accident with their teammate.

        2. I agree. They shouldn’t have raced so hard. That is, Seb knew Leclerc was on fresher tyres and should have yielded the position once Charles was past. So incredibly unnecessary but all on Seb. Leclerc literally did nothing wrong in the slightest.

          1. Team mates racing hard tends to end in 0 points all round. Just not worth it.

  15. Seb’s fault. A bit similar to the infamous 2010 Turkish GP RBR-incident.

  16. To all those who argued it was Webber’s fault in 2010 – where are you now? More denial from Vettel. History repeating itself once again. If I were Ferrari I would cancel his contract. This can not go on. If only Webber had weighed 5-7 kilo less whilst competing with Vettel. It would have been a completely different story. Webber would have left him in the dust just like he did at Monaco. Just my opinion. :-)

  17. The blame lies with Leclerc. His wheel pierced Vettel’s tire.

  18. If Seb gets penalty points from this incident, does that mean a race ban for the final race of the season?

  19. Karma hopefully this makes Leclerc learn though the guy hardly leaves any space and has very questionable defensive driving like on Bottas today, Hamilton in Monza was lucky we did not have a death with his ridicolous moves. It was Vettels fault no doubt as usual he crumbles when near a rival but Leclerc had so much more room to the left

  20. To be fair, Vettel has an unfortunate tendency to do some odd moves in hard battles, but on the other hand, I´ve probably never seen such a failure after such a slight touch.

    1. They are doing close to 300kph and Vettel suddenly cuts across Leclerc’s front. That was not a slight touch.

      If he had done that in a chicane it might have ended OK, but not on a full speed straight.

      1. Yeah, you’re right. But he must have hit Leclerc’s front or rather rim under some peculiar angle because such an extensive disintegration doesn’t happen always.

  21. I mean, its a carbon copy of the notorious incident in Turkey back in 2010 and the only ingredient that is the same in those two incidents, is Sebastian Vettel…
    I can’t see how Ferrari will keep paying him 30 millions and have to deal with all those situations that we saw in the past years… The upcoming days will be crucial within the Ferrari camp and who knows what might happen…(yeah even a Vettel retirement). It is obvious that those two can’t work together, off and on track, making pre race agreements or just racing each other, so i don’t know for how much longer are they going to be teammates….

  22. What vettel meant with that move was “you don’t do that to me”. Just like when he bumped into Hamilton (the road rage).

    It is sad when they refused to accept their time is ending. He’s now only an old lion that roars but that won’t stop the new alphas from taking him.

    Hamilton also shows signs of that, specially when he’s being chased by Verstappen and starts to complain about tyres and engine on the radio.

    The new always come. And that’s good.

    1. Hamilton always complains no matter what position hes in.

  23. LEC is king of the double move. He did it to BOT earlier in the race and failed to complete it against VET.

  24. Mark in Florida
    17th November 2019, 23:40

    Road rage Vettel at it again! If I can’t have it neither can you Leclerc! What’s so stupid about it is Vettel would have probably passed him on the next corner. His emotional rage is so out of control he literally forgets what he is doing. Listen to his high pitched squeals over the radio after the crash, he is a blathering idiot. Leclerc came across as very mature and understanding after the race. It seems that Leclerc is getting better and Vettels stock is sinking.

  25. Seb’s fault. There was no sudden jinx. But a gradual move to the left. But worst is Seb didn’t even seem to know that his car was drifting to the left. You can clearly see Seb’s onboard where the white strip to the right keeps going to the right of the screen. You can also clearly see Charles’ onboard where you see the front tyre pass but the rear tyre make contact as it passes the front tyre.

    Ferrari, please fire Seb and hire Ricciardo. Renault, hire back Hulkenburg.

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