Binotto admits it was "difficult" to give Leclerc orders

Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto has admitted it was "difficult" to order Charles Leclerc to move aside for his Formula 1 teammate Sebastian Vettel during the Chinese Grand Prix.

Binotto admits it was "difficult" to give Leclerc orders

Leclerc passed Vettel at the start but appeared to be struggling slightly more with his tyres than his four-time world champion teammate, who he was eventually told to let past and did so at the start of lap 11.

It was the third time in three races that Ferrari has issued an instruction to Leclerc, having confirmed Leclerc needed to stay behind Vettel at the end of the season-opening Australian GP and telling him not to attack for the lead in Bahrain, where Leclerc passed Vettel anyway.

"Certainly it's difficult as a team to give the order," said team principal Binotto. "Because we understand the drivers, they need to battle to stay ahead as much as they can.

"It was certainly not an easy decision. I have to thank Charles. The way he behaved, it again shows he's being a good team player. But I think again there will be a time where the situation is simply reversed. As a team we need to maximise the team points. In that respect I think we did the right choice."

Leclerc said immediately after the race he wanted to wait to hear from his team before he commented on the swap.

Speaking to media later in the evening, Leclerc said of the early team order: "Obviously being in the car it was a bit frustrating but on the other hand I am well aware that in the car you don't see much of the full picture of the race. So then I just accepted it, did it, and focused on my race."

The result has moved Vettel ahead of Leclerc in the drivers' championship by a single point, but Ferrari's leading man is still 31 behind Mercedes driver and new points leader Lewis Hamilton.

Leclerc said he was satisfied with Ferrari's reasoning for the team order.

"It was not an easy situation," he said. "I was obviously struggling with the tyres. We both were. And at the time it just felt like Seb was quicker. But obviously being behind me for some laps he obviously damaged his tyres and when he went in front his tyres were probably also damaged."

Binotto said that Leclerc's long second stint was primarily to assess the validity of a one-stop strategy, rather than hold up one of the Mercedes as Leclerc had previously suggested.

On the early team order, Binotto added: "I think what we tried at the time, we tried everything we could not to lose time on the Mercedes ahead and that was the only chance we got at the time. We tried, it didn't work. It was right to give the chance to Seb. As a team we did whatever we could."

Additional reporting by Roberto Chinchero

 

shares
comments
Verstappen targeting mid-season F1 race wins

Previous article

Verstappen targeting mid-season F1 race wins

Next article

The MotoGP model that proves F1 B-teams' worth

The MotoGP model that proves F1 B-teams' worth
Load comments
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021