Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur hit back at George Russell after he complained about Charles Leclerc’s defending against him at the British Grand Prix on Sunday.
Russell and Leclerc were locked in a duel for the majority of the race, but the Ferrari driver’s late movements to defend heading into Stowe in the early part of the race irked Russell in particular, taking to team radio to report that he was “moving under braking” while defending.
But when asked about the Mercedes driver’s complaints, the Ferrari team principal took a somewhat dim view of how Russell felt about the situation.
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Ferrari boss: ‘I can show you some action of the beginning of the season…’
Russell had been critical of Leclerc for what he dubbed as “questionable” defending after the race, with the Mercedes driver having been on a softer compound of tyre and looking to get past.
“Some questionable defending from Charles at points,” Russell elaborated to Sky F1. “Just couldn’t get past. It was a little bit frustrating, just didn’t quite have the edge to get past him in the corners I needed.
“But in the end it didn’t really change my race. I think had I got past him earlier, I would have probably pitted even earlier, still being caught out by the Safety Car.”
Russell was unable to get by in their first stint, but with Leclerc moving onto hard tyres and Russell on mediums in the second part of the race, a daring move around the outside of Luffield eventually saw the Mercedes driver by.
As for Vasseur, when he was asked about how he felt about Russell’s critique of the Ferrari man’s stern defence, he was quick to retort with his own feelings – with the Mercedes driver’s style of defending having also been criticised at times this year.
“Yeah, I can show you some action of the beginning of the season,” he quipped to media including PlanetF1.com at Silverstone. “He did also good ones. That’s life.”
It was a disappointing day overall for Ferrari however, with Leclerc’s strategy ultimately going against him with the unexpected arrival of the Safety Car after Kevin Magnussen’s engine blowout.
Leclerc’s hard tyre strategy did not go as well as expected so the Ferrari driver opted to pit a second time for a set of mediums, dropping him briefly out of the points as he had to work his way back in again.
With Carlos Sainz staying out on hard tyres, he admitted he was “always going to be dead meat” as he slipped back through the field and the Scuderia came away with only a handful of points to show for their efforts.
“I’m not [happy],” Vasseur admitted, “starting from P4 and P5 we had the feeling after quali that we could have done a much better job than this.
“We can’t be happy finishing P9 and P10, but now we need to have a deep look on the weekend, not just on the race.”