Leclerc: Red Bull’s team orders ‘made their intentions clear early in the season’

2022 Monaco Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc said Red Bull’s use of team orders in the Spanish Grand Prix was a clear statement of intent about their priorities in the championship.

Sergio Perez arrived at the sixth round of the 22-race season just 19 points behind Max Verstappen. However Red Bull’s approach to the race raised questions over whether the two drivers are being given equal status in their championship effort.

Perez was told to let his team mate past on two occasions during the course of Sunday’s race. After the race Perez pointed out the team had told him they would pay him back for allowing Verstappen through.

However when Perez caught his team mate again later in the race he spent five laps losing time behind Verstappen while asking the Red Bull pit wall why they wouldn’t let him past. Following that, Perez had to let Verstappen by again later in the race.

Verstappen went on to win the race and take the lead of the championship from Leclerc. The Ferrari driver said “Red Bull made it clear what are their intentions and they did it very early in the season,” with their tactics in Spain.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 2022
Transcript: “Why won’t you let me by?” Team orders and DRS dramas on Red Bull’s radio in Spain
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has previously said neither of their drivers are regarded as the ‘number one’. Leclerc does not expect his team to use the same kind of team orders as Red Bull at this stage in the championship.

“I haven’t spoken about it with Mattia and I haven’t heard about anything of this for now,” he said.

Sainz has had a difficult start to his second season at Ferrari as he tries to get to grips with their 2022 car. He is 39 points behind his team mate in the championship. “I think with Carlos it’s just a matter of time before he gets with us and that he gets more at ease with the car,” said Leclerc.

However Leclerc added “I don’t want to rely on that [assistance from his team mate] either.

“I just want to do the job in the car and if we are strong enough, we have already shown that we can win races anyway. If we do a strong enough job then I’m pretty sure that the chances are there anyway.”

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2022 Monaco Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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54 comments on “Leclerc: Red Bull’s team orders ‘made their intentions clear early in the season’”

  1. It’s very honourable to say that but the question isn’t whether you want to win without any help or not – of course everyone would prefer to win in their own. The question is whether you’d rather finish 2nd with no help or finish 1st with assistance from your team mate.

    Winning a title is difficult and not many past Champions were known for being nice guys whilst behind the wheel. You have to take everything you can get like Verstappen, Hamilton, Vettel, Schumacher etc did.

    1. I agree Checo should not ask and take like those you mention. RB are hoping he becomes the champion they think he could become. If not why did they go after him instead of promoting one of their drives.

    2. @petebaldwin

      Agree. I feel almost all drivers take advantage of a #2 driver to secure their win. I don’t think anyone has a problem with it. To be honest, Lewis managed to win a lot of races and championships without any support from the #2 driver, but 2017 and 2018, in the thick of the fight with Ferrari, he started to take advantage of that as well.

      Max, Vettel and Alonso have no qualms taking that advantage from race 1, which I find a little much to be honest.

  2. Well the 5 laps he presumably “lost” was when Max fought George with an intermittent failing Drs. When Rbr choose a soft tire stop in between to pass George and make an extra pitstop, max would have passed checo but could have lost valuable time doing so.
    Smart strategy and smart teamwork.

  3. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    26th May 2022, 19:18

    Leclerc does not expect his team to use the same kind of team orders as Red Bull at this stage in the championship.

    Sure he doesn’t. What else is he expected to say? Everybody and his mum knows Carlos is already playing second violin to Leclerc.

    What bothers me more is that everybody is, yet again, pointing at Red Bull as being bad for doing what Mercedes has done for a decade. Bottas was already told to let Hamilton by after fewer races than 6 before. The same people who defended that are now pointing at Red Bull saying that it’s terrible and stupid. Good ‘ol Palmer included in his weekly blog of trash on the F1-site. Claiming ‘Mercedes has only done it when the gap was bigger’. Which is simply false. Not that I expect much from a guy who couldn’t drive an F1-car at all…

    1. Mr Angry-about-Hamilton makes it about Hamilton again.

      1. Noframingplease (@)
        27th May 2022, 7:09

        @david-br David, when there are enough fact you can find on the internet (facts from races, not the opinion of some british ex-racer) that MB has done this years and years and even earlier in the season, what is than the reason to give such a shortsighted non-argumented comment. Fans like you, and those fella’s below with their ‘+1’ have have filled the commentzone with their personal opinion that MB would never do that. When the facts (see below) are the complete opposite, yes even the ‘no so early in the season BS’, can we than conclude a big part of the fans has some memory problems? Or is it just still the obsession of the last race in 2021 so ‘we’ bash everything about that evil RB camp with that aggressive bully boy driver. Oh.. sorry, I forgot,…and the more evil father Jos of course. No matter what that man is saying, it appears to be a red flag for many ‘sir Lewis’ fans.

    2. @barryfromdownunder When did Mercedes order Bottas to let Hamilton through to win in the first 6 races of a season when they already had a comfortable 1-2?

      1. Noframingplease (@)
        27th May 2022, 6:46

        @oweng maybe a quick search on would have helped you. Yes they did, and much earlier in the season https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.bottas-accepting-team-orders-tough.2TAwqblZsIq6AgSmqgys08.html

        1. @nofanboysplease nice try. But Vettel was leading the race and Bottas wasn’t catching him. Hamilton was let through to try and win the race.

          I asked if Merc had swapped the drivers when running a comfortable 1-2.

          1. Noframingplease (@)
            28th May 2022, 9:32

            There is always an excuse for sir lewis fans that behavior in his case is seen as positive and exceptional talented. When RB, the black sheep of for most people here, does the same, it is ‘bad’/unsportsmanlike etc…. The situations are always different so you will always bring your excuse. Looking at what it brought RB I understand them. Max was back in points and gained a lot. So we look at Sochi 2018 where Bottas received the order to switch from first to second. A 1,2 for the MB while Sir Lewis was in front of the championship before the race started. Yes, not exactly the same,.. but why looking at argumentations for people who’s only goal is to bash certain teams or drivers due to an obsession about the last 2021 race.

    3. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
      27th May 2022, 1:04

      Please tell us. Apparently team orders at Mercedes are a common occurance regarding Bottas. Please give us some of these examples. We’ve heard a lot of noise at Russia so you’re going to have to come correct with context.

      1. Noframingplease (@)
        27th May 2022, 6:51

        @threepurplesectors ah small tip of the iceberg. The context can you find yourself. As everyone with a keyboard can find them
        https://youtu.be/VvLycBdR-54

    4. @barryfromdownunder

      Sure he doesn’t. What else is he expected to say? Everybody and his mum knows Carlos is already playing second violin to Leclerc.

      He’s not playing second violin.. hes just quite rubbish to play the lead.

  4. The intention to win championships surprises him? What a strange pr induced remark. Ferrari has always had 2nd drivers and at risk of offending Carlos fans, it was very clear from the start the current duo is no exception. And we just came from a decade of team orders. Valtteri, it’s James.

  5. Pretty benign comment from CL. It’s not like he is insulting or scoffing at RBR and that I’m sure is because he knows he is on a team that is famous for their one-rooster philosophy, including that going against CL when SV was designated thus at the very beginning of the season, only for them to have to haul back on that when CL started doing better than SV.

    I’m sure CL knows that even though he doesn’t expect team orders to be needed, that could change this weekend even, simply by a certain type of scenario or two arising that causes them to make a prudent mid-race decision.

    Of course CL doesn’t want to have to rely on the help, nor do most drivers, but of course he will take the help if/when the occasion/need arises. And it may well, now that Max is leading and it remains looking like a two horse race for the season, as it was before Spain. So far Sainz hasn’t been in the picture in a way such that he would have needed to be ordered to cede to CL. Now that Max is leading, that may hurt Sainz’s chances of avoiding an order more than previously, especially if he is finding his way with the car and might get himself more in the mix.

    1. Better rely on your team mate than the race director.

  6. I don’t completely dismiss the different strategy explanation but in the end Max is just faster than Checo so I don’t blame them if they go with that.

    Ferrari has a lot easier situation now Sainz is not performing at all.

  7. Putting aside all the historical comparisons, Red Bull have to calculate this very carefully. Perez helped Verstappen a lot last season, including in the season finale where, very likely, his defensive driving, slowing down Hamilton massively, put MV in a position to eventually win the race and WDC. But that commitment was – as far as I can tell from Checo’s own comments – on the understanding that he would be free to compete when his pace in the car relative to Max improved, e.g. this season. His comments at the end of the race also suggest he wasn’t expecting what happened during the Barcelona GP (being asked to let Max pass twice, not getting to pass him later, and being on a different strategy in general). Obviously Red Bull can downgrade him to ‘second driver’ but that may come at a cost of demotivation. Bottas was absolutely useless in helping Hamilton last season, indeed did more to block him than assist at some races. Entirely understandable given he was being replaced. But Red Bull need Perez fighting near the front, which he mostly has been so far this year. Will he continue if he thinks he’s not in the championship? Or even allowed to win, except when Max has a DNF?

    1. If he doesn’t continue to fight, I think we all know what will happen. Red Bull aren’t known for holding on to drivers when they’re not performing to the required standard.

      1. @petebaldwin True but easy said than done for a driver to maintain motivation in that situation.

        1. Definitely. For most of their lives, these guys have been racing and have been working towards getting a top seat in F1 and when it finally happens, they’re told to stop racing and become a support driver for someone else. It must be
          a horrible feeling….

          You can see it in Bottas’ face this year how much happier he is. Same with Barrichello once he left Ferrari. Perez will be the same once he realises that this is how it’s going to be as long as he’s at Red Bull.

    2. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
      27th May 2022, 1:07

      Yep, Checo did a lot to help Max get the title. He also had to forfeit a lot of qualifying runs just giving Max a tow.

      1. That’s true remember the time they gave Checo Max”s broken car parts and put the good ones on Max car last year for qualifying and they treat him like this. It’s not fair.

  8. Max needs the help, Charles doesn’t.

    Hopefully we have an exciting rest of the season as the 2 battle it out.

    1. If Charles wants to win thr WDC, he needs help. A lot of help.

      1. At least he doesn’t need help from stewards to win a fake title.

        1. You don’t know that.

        2. I mean, first he has to win one, doesn’t he? Fake or not.
          My opinion is that if Ferrari would’ve had any ambition they would’ve taken Verstappen over Leclerc a couple of years ago.

    2. He will need it eventually. I just hope Sainz doesn’t whinge when he’s actually in a position to help Charles. Right now, helping Charles is the only reason Ferrari will see him drive for them next year. He’s already blown his championship chances.

  9. Six portagonists helped to win the WDC last year.

    Michael Masi
    Max Verstappen
    Checo Perez
    Piere Gasly
    Yuki Studonoda
    Valterri Bottas

    1. What is that list supposed to be? A casting call for characters in a Drive To Survive spinoff?

    2. I suggest you go check hungary first lap.

      1. Lol.. yeah. That was actually Valterri’s biggest contribution of the year.. along with one odd race he kept Verstappen behind

  10. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
    26th May 2022, 22:14

    No surprise. This just shows how ruthless RB can be to help their chosen one. This also explains why young drivers can’t survive in that team. They expect them to perform but they knee cap them with their internal golden child politics and preferential upgrades. Luckily for them Checo is a veteran and can cope but he must surely come to grips with what his role is. Had they let him go for the win moved Max out of the he would only be 12 pts behind in the WDC. Checo is totally in the fight but the team is engineering him out of it because they prefer Max. Its a self fulfillinging prophecy. They’ll develop the car around Max, favor Max on strategy, make upgrades for only Max’s car to help them with the budget cap and then say Max is the logically choice because he brings in the points. Well, gee I wonder why???

    1. There’s a lot wrong there but to pick on one point – do you honestly believe that over a season, if given completely fair treatment, Checo is ever going to beat Max? I can’t see it…. It’s like saying Bottas could match Hamilton if he was ever treated as his equal. He can’t because he’s just not fast enough.

      1. What if he is able to beat Verstappen given the same car. I doubt they will give him the same car but maybe with equal machinery he beats Max. DTS best get the cameras ready and F1 will be in even higher demand.

    2. @threepurplesector What do you mean by not having the same car? The 0.1-.015 Max’s car has been faster at this race due to him having priority receiving weight updates? Mate are you alright? Get out and stop watching Abu Dhabi on repeat.

  11. Smart move by Leclerc, start sowing the seeds that Perez is a number 2 early to drive a wedge in that RB team.

    1. Politics move

  12. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
    27th May 2022, 0:52

    Comments are blocked.

  13. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
    27th May 2022, 0:53

    Apparently you can’t use the H word or your comment will get flagged.

  14. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
    27th May 2022, 0:54

    Hate.

  15. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
    27th May 2022, 0:54

    Nope you can say hate. Weird.

  16. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
    27th May 2022, 1:09

    You’re going to have to do better than false equivalencies. Mercedes gives their drivers equal equipment and equal chances to win. They do it to a fault until they must absolutely favor one driver for the title. Bottas lost to Hamilton because of on track performance. But Hamilton detractors would have you think team orders are an everyday occurrance. With these new regulation cars, Checo has been right there with Max. Give Checo a fair crack and stop protecting Max. If Checo can’t get it done on track then so be it. But right now he is not even allowed to compete with Max let alone with equal equipment and strategy.

    1. The Dolphins
      27th May 2022, 1:36

      let alone with equal equipment

      That’s the point Verstappen fans will leave out in their argument that Max is faster anyway. This year Perez has been very competitive in a lesser car.

    2. The way I see it, Horner just made a copy of Barrichello’s contract and gave it to Perez.

      1. What incredibly childish comments.

  17. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
    27th May 2022, 1:12

    Broke the algorithmn! Don’t say “Hamilton heaters?”

    1. Are you enjoying talking to yourself?

  18. There are fans here that remain objective in their opinions. I salute you! Max and Redbull had to use everything except the kitchen sink to beat Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes last year. Even multiple team orders in lots of races. These are historical facts not opinions. And yet some would argue here that Max is already a GOAT. thus is biasness to the extreme. Or is it just plain old racism (sublime below surface racism). Lewis who with McLaren and Mercedes have won and lost champions collected a staggering number of poles wins championships and othe records still has his position (status) questioned. This sadly IS tbe world we still live in. We can deny it. Put our heads in the sand and claim its just not so. But that is the truth. What must Lewis do to gain even equal recognition? From some of you so called fans…

Comments are closed.