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By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 author at Suzuka
Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc state they have set their dispute over team orders behind them at the Russian Grand Prix.
Vettel ignored orders to let Leclerc by him several times in the early laps of this race, so reneging on a agreement between team and the drivers.
We talked about it, more than once. Its very clear and it is two weeks ago, so moving forward, explained Vettel.
Leclerc saidwhats clear more than what he called anmisunderstanding.
The 21-year-old from Monaco included:Obviously it felt as though it was a enormous deal from the outside – that it certainly was not. But, yeah, now everything is fine
The agreement with the drivers before the race in Russia of the team was for Leclerc, who started from pole position, to provide Vettel, who opened third supporting Lewis Hamiltons Mercedes, a slipstream to the first corner to ensure they were running one-two.
The strategy was for Leclerc to let Vettel overtake him but also for Vettel to let him back into the lead again.
However, Vettel refused to move over, first arguing then that Leclerc was too much behind for him to slow down and let him past, and they need to make an effort to pull further clear of Hamilton prior to performing the manoeuvre.
In the end, the problem was resolved at the pit stops, when Ferrari pitted Leclerc initial and ran Vettel longer, which allowed Leclerc to run faster on new tyres and thus be ahead when Vettel left his pit stop, although the team denied that this had been deliberate.
Leclerc, who joined Ferrari this season, said it had beenapparent from the start of the season the group had to comply with team orders but added:Whats clear is that the scenario was not clear for both of the drivers, starting the raceand I believe that is the main (entity ).
So we spoke about it and we will be certain that this situation does not happen again in the future.
Vettel added:We did not write anything in stone. Obviously probably certain things we could have achieved better looking back in the end we all look forward to the race and also the next races.
The 32-year-old denied his actions were affected by the reality that Leclerc has been out-performing him.
Leclerc includes five poles into his one has Vettel twice days in a row, also has won 2 races and Vettel one.
Vettel stated:Clearly Im happy if Im slower, while its practice or qualifying or race. And thats the same not just this year.
There are definite things this season (with which) I struggled here and there with the car which didnt let me possibly infusion my best, however I do not think it would have been any different if anyone else could have been in the other car.
Charles was doing a very good job, but its largely, I normally think a race and then the others. In that regard, I fought to extract everything I understand I have in me.
But on the other side it also looks different on the outside than its on the interior. There have been races at which things possibly did not fall into place so didnt look that great on the outside but we had been doing the correct things and handling the perfect things about the inside, so I am not concerned in that respect
Hamilton explained the situation at Ferrari asan interesting dynamic, saying:Theres always going to be friction since youve got contradictory objectives. Its also an individual sport with two motorists although its a team and youre always trying to balance that conflict and friction.
It is managing from the top down. Its just how its managed, communication is key. There are various philosophies between these two teams and in these years well see how it functions.
It has not worked for a long time with them and it probably wont later on
A soldier is caught up within a conspiracy that was multi-layered
Analysis and opinion in the chief Formula 1 writer of the BBC.
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