Charles Leclerc insists his relationship with Sebastian Vettel remains strong despite the incident in qualifying in Italy that annoyed his teammate.
Vettel was supposed to get a tow from Leclerc on the final runs in qualifying at Monza, but a slow out lap saw the majority of drivers fail to start an attempt. Leclerc — on provisional pole position at the time — only passed Vettel late in the lap and the German complained that it was not what had been agreed internally, but even after team principal Mattia Binotto said he forgave Leclerc, the Monegasque insists the team accepts the incident was unintentional.
“I don’t think it changed (our relationship),” Leclerc said. “Obviously after Saturday there were some doubts about what I did but I explained myself and since then everything was fine.
“I’ve been completely honest and I’m always honest but there was nothing done (intentionally) in Monza. It was a very tricky situation at the beginning of the lap with the big mess. It made us quite late to go to the finish line but there was definitely no (plan) from me to sacrifice Seb’s second lap or whatever.”
After winning the past two races, Leclerc does not see himself as Ferrari’s lead driver, instead feeling the best way to perform is by putting the overall needs of the team above his or Vettel’s own.
“I’ve never felt that way. I don’t know if from the outside if it looks different… but from the inside it’s very balanced. There have been situations in the past where I’ve helped Sebastian, some others where he has helped me.
“I think the team is doing everything for its benefit and I think that is the most important thing. We are here to perform at our best, but I’m very happy with how the team is at the moment.
“I think to be a team player always pays off at the end of the day. If you have one driver who is an egotist and just looks at himself, it’s not great. There might be some situations where you have to look at yourself but I think you just need to find the right balance.”