At the Russian Grand Prix, there was controversy as Sebastian Vettel defied team orders, again. This angered his teammate, Charles Leclerc, to no end and he made his feelings well-known on the radio.
Having had some time to reflect on his actions, Vettel admitted that he was wrong to disobey Ferrari’s instructions.
Ferrari told Sebastian Vettel three times, that he needed to let Leclerc overtake him, after the Safety Car period at the race start. The plan was for Vettel pass Leclerc at the start, to ensure he also got ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Then, once they got clear, he needed to hand the position back, though the second part of the plan fell flat.
Speaking to German media at Suzuka, Sebastian Vettel admitted he “got the message at the radio to change the places and did not do it. That was certainly not right,”.
After the race, Team principal Mattia Binotto spoke to the duo, separately to clear the air. However Vettel also declared that Ferrari have not felt the need to “write anything in stone”.
“I don’t think is necessary,” he said. “Probably [there are] certain things that we could have done better looking back. But in the end we look forward to this race in the next races so I’m not worried too much.”
“I think Russia in a way has been a very positive weekend because it’s been the first weekend where we really had the pace to win.
“We didn’t win the race but in terms of race pace I think we were a match with Mercedes, at times even faster. Whereas in the other races beforehand we had very good races but I think we benefit partly from our straight-line speed benefit and the positioning we had after qualifying so. Races like Singapore I think in terms of true race pace Mercedes was still faster than us.”
“The relationship is like it was the whole year. Of course we want to beat each other, but that’s not because of a special relationship between him and me.”