Charles Leclerc is confident both he and Sebastian Vettel will follow any team orders if they are handed out at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix after their issue in Russia.
Vettel took the lead from polesitter Leclerc at the start of the race in Sochi, and was then ordered to give the position back later in the first stint based on a pre-race agreement. Vettel declined to do so, instead wanting to open a bigger gap over the rest of the field, and it was only in the pit stops that the positions were reversed before Vettel retired and Leclerc was limited to third place. Despite the incident, Leclerc says any future orders will still be respected.
“I think that’s clear from the beginning of the season — we need to obey team orders and the situation wasn’t clear for both of the drivers, starting the race (in Russia),” Leclerc said. “So we spoke about it and we’ll make sure that this situation doesn’t happen again in the future.
“Obviously there was some misunderstanding from the car but I think we’ve had a discussion and everything is clear now. Obviously it felt like it was a huge deal from the outside — which it definitely wasn’t — but yeah, now everything is fine.”
Leclerc says it’s natural for the two Ferrari teammates to fight each other hard and not be keen to give each other an advantage when they are fighting for positions on track.
“As in every team, Seb wants to beat me, I want to beat him as much; but the priority is to do good for the team, which is what we all do.”
Vettel agreed with Leclerc’s assessment, saying new rules did not need setting out in order to avoid a repeat in the future.
“We spoke about it, obviously, more than once,” Vettel said. “We speak with each other. Maybe different to what some people think. But I think it’s pretty clear.
“We didn’t write anything in stone. I don’t think it’s necessary. Probably there’s certain things that we could’ve done better, looking back. But in the end we look forward to this race and the next races. So, not worried too much.”