‘Forget about team orders, concentrate on winning’

Date published: April 18 2019

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Mika Hakkinen reckons there is no way Ferrari can beat Mercedes to this year’s World titles if they continue “playing games”.

The Scuderia made headlines last Sunday for all the wrong reasons and once again they were unable to challenge Mercedes for the victory in China and once again they used team orders to favour Sebastian Vettel.

Although Charles Leclerc got the jump on his team-mate at the start in Shanghai, laps later he was ordered to hand the position over to Vettel who felt he was faster.

He wasn’t. The German came home in third place while Leclerc, compromised by the team order, fell to fifth.

Double World Champion Hakkinen wrote in his Unibet column: “Charles Leclerc made a better start to the race than Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel and should really have been allowed to get on with it and take the fight to Bottas if he could.

“Instead he was asked to slow down and let Vettel past, which looked like a mistake.

“When you have a team as strong as Mercedes to beat there is no point playing games; Ferrari needs to stop focussing on themselves and start concentrating on beating the competition.

“In the battle to beat Mercedes no one should care whether it is Leclerc or Vettel who wins the race.

“I think Leclerc was right to be upset, because the subsequent strategy managed him back into fifth position, behind Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.”

He added: “Vettel and Leclerc have the potential to be the strongest competition to Mercedes every weekend, but they need to give the drivers the support, flexibility and focus to do that.

“Forget about team orders, concentrate on the team winning.”

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