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The trust is still there, insists Leclerc

NEWS STORY
29/09/2019

It's a debate that is sure to polarise many race fans, and while Sebastian Vettel has history in terms of reneging on agreements with teammate, many feel his lead at the start of today's Grand Prix was on merit.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Ferrari allowing such an agreement to be made however, the fact is that two successive races have been marred by intra-team squabbling.

While Mattia Binotto sought to explain today's agreement to the media, Leclerc insists that today's events will not damage his relationship with Vettel, and that he still trusts the German to honour such agreements.

In the wake of today's events, when asked if he still trusts Vettel, Leclerc said: "Yes, I think the trust doesn't change and I think we need to trust each other, Seb and myself.

"It's hugely important for the benefit of the team in some situation, to know that you can count on the other car and vice versa," he continued. "So, yeah, I think it's very important, but yes, the trust is still here."

Asked about the start, he said: "I obviously went to the left to give Seb the slipstream, I knew he would overtake, and anyway we knew that, then we just had to do the swap back and we did it at the pitstop later on in the race."

Asked if the agreement concerned him holding position and not resisting Vettel on the run to Turn 2, he said: "If there was Lewis and Seb side by side, I obviously had to advantage Seb and not Lewis, which is normal. So, that was what was agreed.

"There was a safety car straight away," he continued, "so then it was quite difficult. I tried to stay as close as I possibly could, for two or three laps, but then it was very difficult to follow, especially the first and second sectors, the tyres overheated, and then I dropped back a little bit.

"But then I was, as I said on the radio, I had one hundred percent trust in the team to do it themselves as it was agreed before the race, and that's what they did at the pitstop."

Vettel on the other hand, was giving little away.

"I think I stuck to the agreement," he told Sky Sports. "Obviously it was a big shame because I think we had a good chance today to finish first and second."

Asked to explain the agreement, he replied: "I think on my side it's best if I don't say anything. I think Mattia gave an explanation which is valid, so leave it there."

Pushed on whether he would have allowed Leclerc through, had the situation remained 'as was' until much later in the race, he said: "Obviously, I don't know what happened, I wasn't really aware when Charles was going to pit, because obviously you do your own race.

"I was aware of the fact I was quite a bit down the road," he continued. "And obviously the last laps before the pit stop I was struggling more and more with the tyres. So I realised that obviously it would be time to pit.

"When I got out, I found myself behind, then I had a problem and so on, and obviously the bigger downside was the fact that we had to retire. It didn't come to that stage, so it's a bit pointless to discuss."

All this aside, with Formula One partnering with betting companies it remains to be seen how punters will react to such pre-race agreements, indeed surely all F1 fans are being short-changed when teams are essentially deciding who will win and how before the lights have even gone out.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Sochi, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spartacus, 30/09/2019 17:00

"I mostly agree with "Old Timer" in this thread. Perhaps LeClerc and VET discussed a strategy of tow during the start, which worked. I don't think LeClec was wrong to bring it up but I do think he was wrong to bring it up "During the race!". The fact that VET was seconds in front, he was right about having LeClerc "close the gap" then it is a mute point. He couldn't so Ferrari resorted to a lame ass, call leaving VET out one extra lap on worn tires to make the "Swap". This isn't racing folks, It's racing management! Although I found the race very interesting considering the airing of Ferrari's communication, it was a boring race throughout. My opinion is that LeClerc was not able to close the gap to VET so the race was his! Perhaps LeClerc should have moved over and blocked VET which might have yielded a different outcome. Sorry but Ferrari made F1 look bad today by the poorly engineered "swap" and the fact that they did not allow both drivers to push when they could have."

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2. Posted by koko, 30/09/2019 12:39

"Well, MULTI-21 scenario is not going to work again. Godfather 'Marko' is not close to defend his pupil and the patience of his current employer is running out ... Vettel was always used to be the "spoiled kid". When things were not going in his direction, he always "parked" the car (remember, this is not the first time), took his toys and just leave the playground. And I think, with this episode, we just saw the redundancy letter signed.

That's why he will never be a worthy World Champion."

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3. Posted by Toffeecup0, 30/09/2019 11:10

"I think the drivers should race for themselves and not have a number one or two driver if they have the opportunity to pass then go for it team orders stink vettel as usual just does what he pleases like the Schumacher days another german does care what anyone else thinks if I were leclerc I would be very angry with him"

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4. Posted by Elf Team Tyrrell, 30/09/2019 9:09

"Vettel isn’t a team player never has been, only thinks about himself. That is the main reason it hasn’t worked for him at Ferrari, he hasn’t built the team around him. A very lucky 4 time champion and slightly above average driver at best. Has certainly proved that he isn’t to be trusted with any agreements. Time for him to retire and let one of the bright young talents in "

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5. Posted by aroutis, 30/09/2019 8:52

"Charles is definitely not in the wrong here if there is a strategy discussed and agreed upon and then something else happens during the race; Especially if this tends to happen, over and over again.
This is for team management to solve and to make both drivers understand that noone is more important than the team.
In my opinion, this stems from the fact that Seb is feeling insecure and under pressure. May that be his #1 status in the team (non existent atm) and his future in Ferrari altogether given his performance as of late, combined with how Leclerc has been performing and developing in less than a year. On the other hand, Leclerc needs to be less vocal in the team radio; yes he is a prodigy , no that does not give him the right to act as he is Baby Jesus hehehe :D"

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6. Posted by Old Timer, 29/09/2019 23:17

"Charles, you are in Formula 1, this should be about racing, not agreements made before a race or you qualifying position. You need to put your head down and prove, on the track, during a race, you are faster. Seb proved today that he was faster, faster than the Mercedes team and faster than you. And Ferrari, do not enter into political agreements with your drivers. The proof of who is the best is determined on the track, not in the garage."

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