“Charles Can Have a Bad Feeling”: Amid Brewing War, Vasseur Urged to Take the Correct Decision to Avoid Unthinkable

Published 09/06/2023, 9:30 AM EDT

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Two Formula 1 teammates battling it out for a position on the racetrack. What can go wrong? Absolutely everything if you look at the 2 Red Bulls at the 2018 Azerbaijan GP or the Mercedes’ at the 2016 Spanish GP. Surprisingly, these are the top 2 teams and one place where Ferrari shouldn’t aspire to match them. But since the SF-23 isn’t as quick, they decide to create a crash of their own at the Italian GP to get drafted into the leagues of their elite rivals. But jokes aside, the decision by Ferrari to let their drivers fight for P3 seemed unnecessary. A former World Champion thought so too, considering the impact that it would’ve on Charles Leclerc’s future mindset.

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Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc sandwiched Max Verstappen at the beginning of the Italian GP, with the Spaniard leading the way. After solidly defending for 14 laps, Sainz eventually made a mistake that the Dutchman capitalized on to take the lead and sustain it. Meanwhile, Sergio Perez who heroically climbed the grid overtook both Ferraris to secure P2 and pull ahead.

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For Ferrari, instead of asking Leclerc to hold position in P4, and not attack his teammate in P3, they allowed the duo to fight it out. This decision could’ve proved very costly. One mistake and they would embarrass themselves in front of a hopeful Tifosi. Luckily, nothing major happened and Sainz got the much-deserved podium. On the Sky Sports F1 podcast, Nico Rosberg addressed this move by Frederic Vasseur.

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The host asked him: “Was the decision to let both Ferrari drivers the correct decision?” Rosberg replied: “For us the fans, yes, for Ferrari, not so sure. Toto might have said just hold position now. Around 50 points separating Ferrari and Mercedes. From that point of view, you might have said, ‘hold position’ because they’re such important points. For us it was great. A big lock up from Charles and they almost crashed.”

The German also said he urged Vasseur to avoid encouraging such battles in the future as it could lead to Leclerc being uncertain if he could lose position if the situation was reversed. “I had a word with Fred Vasseur at the end of the race about it because he’s the team boss and commands the team. It’s so important to be proactive because next time, Charles can have a bad feeling and he can spiral thinking that next time I’m not going to yield. I’m gonna pay back. Vasseur said he’s going to take care of it.”

While Rosberg was completely against this move and supposedly tried to support Leclerc, the Monegasque couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

Charles Leclerc is ecstatic after Ferrari allow intra-team battle against Carlos Sainz

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With 5 laps to go for the Chequered flag, Charles Leclerc turned on attack mode against his teammate. Though Carlos Sainz just wanted to get the cars home, the team felt otherwise. So, he had no choice but to defend like a lion and he did. Isn’t this the kind of racing we all look forward to? Leclerc sure did and he thoroughly enjoyed it.

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“First of all, it was probably one of the most fun races I’ve had this year,” said the Monegasque.This is what racing should be, on the limit. I think Carlos was defending on the limit, I was attacking on the limit obviously, and we both knew that it means a lot for both of us to be here on the podium in Monza.”

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Which view do you agree with? Do such instances have more potential for destruction like Rosberg said or more entertainment and fun like Leclerc felt?

WATCH THIS STORY | Carlos Sainz’s Surprising U-Turn: Defying Fathers Advice in favor of Ferrari

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Written by:

Yash Kotak

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Yash is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. With a strong passion for communicating through written word and a keen interest in the world of motorsports, he thoroughly enjoys being a fan of F1 and covering it for other fans. Ever since he watched the 'INSIDE TRACKS' episode covering the 2018 German Grand Prix, he has fallen in love with the intriguingly complex world of F1.
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Edited by:

Aishwary Gaonkar

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