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Vettel critical of media's coverage of team orders

NEWS STORY
15/04/2019

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, the fact is that, thinking that Sebastian Vettel was quicker and therefore had more chance of catching the Mercedes duo than his teammate, Charles Leclerc, who was clearly struggling, Ferrari called on the youngster to move aside for the German.

Though he initially questioned the decision, the Monegasque eventually yielded to his teammate, who, once through, also lost ground to the Silver Arrows, while Leclerc subsequently fell prey to Max Verstappen due to Red Bull's aggressive strategy.

Team orders at Ferrari has been one of the main talking points this season, particularly in the media where there is a growing resentment at what is perceived to be a bias towards Vettel, a situation not helped by Mattia Binotto's insistence that in the early stages of the season, the German will "have priority".

Asked about the decision at yesterday's post-race FIA press conference, Vettel made it clear that he feels the media is creating an issue.

"I knew the moment it was happening that I would have to face these questions," he said. "(I'm) not sure I want to answer because I'm a little bit against the way you - all of you - work, because you take bits out of answers here and there and put it into the wrong light.

"So, if you ask me again in half an hour down in the paddock, maybe I give you a straightforward answer and you don't write it down or record. Seems the way that, not maybe all of you but some of you are working.

"Yeah, I felt I was faster in the car," he said, finally answering the actual question, "I was asked if I can go faster. I answered that I felt I can.

"I was a bit surprised when I was in free air - not surprised - but I was struggling a bit to put the laps together," he admitted. "Once I found a rhythm, I was able to chip away, but yeah, obviously the objective was to try and catch Mercedes. At the point obviously the gap was already quite big."

Sure enough, at Ferrari's own press conference shortly after, the subject of team orders was raised again, albeit in terms of how Mercedes handled the situation last year.

"I don't know," said Vettel. "Maybe ask Lewis.

"I think Mercedes has been in a very different situation," he continued, "but I think it's not the first time that we've seen something like that. Obviously, we try to do everything as a team.

"Last week, or two weeks ago, Charles was faster, and it was quite straightforward, maybe a bit easier to pass in Bahrain. But I think the upsetting thing after the race is that we didn't manage to finish third and fourth.

"Obviously I want to be ahead of Charles, he wants to be ahead of me, that's the name of the game. I'm not keen to expand much further, because it's always a bit difficult, especially what you make out of the answer afterwards, so keep it there."

Asked to give an example of when his comments had been used out of context, he said: "Not really, it's just poor journalism in my point of view, but I'm not a journalist to judge, so you shouldn't take my judgement personally.

"I don't think it's frustrating," he added. "It's just a pain to answer the same questions over and over. I think the priority always lies within the team, so I think Charles is aware, I am aware, that we are driving for the team.

"We are fighting for our own race, but usually with this kind of stuff, it's never pleasant, but it's a bit also of what goes around comes around.

"We have so many races, only time will tell whether we did something right or wrong. At the time, you always try to do what is right.

"I can see that it's not easy for anyone involved, but as I said, we try to obviously get stronger and fight Mercedes which are currently a little bit ahead. We need to understand why we are behind and work on that so we don't have to worry about these things."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Toffeecup0, 16/04/2019 14:34

"Why should Charles yield to vettel they should have equal opportunities would think he was royalty the big he man as it was vettel was not any faster in the end I think Charles should ignore orders and go for it"

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2. Posted by klmn, 15/04/2019 15:14

"Rubens let Micheal pass ..for the championship...for the championship...

Felipe !!, Fernando is faster ....do you understand ....do you understand ...."

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3. Posted by Cobra Racer, 15/04/2019 14:14

"A sub-title to the team orders saga at Ferrari, "How To Destroy The Confidence And Enthusiasm Of A Young Racer"."

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