Sebastian Vettel criticized the media after being asked about a team order from Ferrari for Charles Leclerc to move over during the Chinese Grand Prix.
Leclerc got the jump on Vettel at the start of the race but was unable to pull away from his teammate, with Vettel saying he could go faster. Ferrari then asked Leclerc to give up the position, although Vettel himself then struggled to open up a significant gap. When asked about the switch after the race, Vettel responded by criticizing the media’s coverage of such incidents.
“Well, let’s put it this way, I knew the moment it was happening that I would have to face these questions,” Vettel said. “Not sure I want to answer because I’m a little bit against the way you — all of you — work, because you take bits out of answers here and there and put it into the wrong light.
“So, if you ask me again in half an hour down in the paddock, maybe I give you a straightforward answer and you don’t write it down or record. Seems the way that, not maybe all of you but some of you are working.
“Yeah, I felt I was faster in the car, I was asked if I can go faster. I answered that I felt I can. I was a bit surprised when I was in free air — not surprised but I was struggling a bit to put the laps together. Once I found a rhythm, I was able to chip away — but yeah, obviously the objective was to try and catch Mercedes. At the point the gap was already quite big.”
Vettel finished third after an on-track battle with Max Verstappen, behind a Mercedes one-two led by Lewis Hamilton. Leclerc eventually crossed the line fifth after losing out strategically to the Red Bull, but the four-time world champion was more focused on the gap to Mercedes in Shanghai.
“Happy to be on the podium, but tough, because we tried to stick with them, but we just couldn’t. They were too quick, right from the start. Obviously I had a bit of a race with Max, which was good fun, but the objective was to chase them down, but as I said, they were just too quick for us today.
“I saw (Verstappen) coming and the speed delta at the end of the straight is quite big now, so knowing Max as well, I knew that he will try. I was sort of predicting that he would try and go down the inside and try to cut back and it worked.
“I had a bit of a moment in which I had to open the car a bit, but it was good because I just kept nearly a car length ahead and then at the end going into the last corner for him I guess wasn’t sexy so that was good fun. But as I said, we would have loved to be a bit faster.”