Charles Leclerc has come out in defence of Ferrari‘s strategy team after a switch between the drivers caused an open and messy spat between him and teammate Sebastian Vettel at the Russian Grand Prix.
Leclerc’s race was compromised at the start when Vettel made a quick getaway to take the lead into Turn 1, with the German pulling away in the opening laps of the race, setting fastest lap after fastest lap.
Ferrari then made a plan to do a swap which would see Vettel move over for Leclerc, but with the German’s lead over three seconds, a change of position could have played into Mercedes‘s hands.
Leclerc did eventually get passed Vettel when the German came in for fresh rubber, but the Monegasque driver had to stop twice for tyres which cost Ferrari victory in Russia with Leclerc only managing third whilst Vettel retired a lap after pitting.
“It was a tricky race. I think that we had a good strategy to give us the best result as a team,” said Leclerc.“At the start of the race, I gave Sebastian a tow so that we could race at the front and get ahead of our competitors together.”
Leclerc blamed the safety car for the unravelling of Ferrari’s race.
“Then, after the safety car, things became a bit more complicated and we aimed to find the right timing to swap positions, which we did when Seb pitted.
“Unfortunately, there was an issue on Seb’s car and he had to end the race early. From that point on it just didn’t go our way anymore and it was not possible for me to overtake the two cars in front.”