Fred Vasseur points the finger at Lewis Hamilton after Ferrari’s qualifying spat

Michelle Foster
Mercedes' George Russell and Alpine's Esteban Ocon are followed by the Ferrari's of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc . Britain July 2023

Mercedes' George Russell and Alpine's Esteban Ocon are followed by the Ferrari's of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in qualifying . Britain July 2023

Fred Vasseur has brushed aside Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz’s qualifying spat while seemingly pointing the finger at Lewis Hamilton for causing the chaos.

Saturday’s qualifying for the British Grand Prix saw a mad 3m11s dash at the end of Q1 with 19 drivers lining up at the end of pit lane in a bid to book a place in Q2.

Such was the length of the line of cars that Max Verstappen, P19 in the queue, only left the pits with 2m05s remaining in the session.

Yet more drama for the Ferrari team-mates

Surprisingly all the drivers managed to cross the line to get in a final flying lap but it wasn’t without a fair amount of elbows coming out and hurt feelings in the mix, most notably at Ferrari where Leclerc was unhappy with Sainz and visa versa.

With the latter told to give track position to Leclerc for their out-lap, Sainz went onto overtake his team-mate into the final corner with Leclerc sarcastically saying: “Nice, Carlos, nice. Good overtake in the last corner.”

The Monégasque driver subsequently called for “more of a discussion” between the team-mates while Sainz blamed driver etiquette in general and rivals ignoring the drivers’ gentlemen’s agreement.

“The problem is people behind started to overtake us, which meant, if you give a four-second gap between all the cars that meant that I was not gonna get a lap in, if everyone’s going to respect that four-second gap that we more or less give each other,” he said.

“And because a gentlemen’s agreement doesn’t exist anymore and it’s been completely forgotten.”

Ferrari team boss Vasseur pointed the finger at Mercedes driver Hamilton for that one.

“Lewis Hamilton suddenly overtook a few cars before the last few corners and that made it a bit chaotic,” said the Frenchman. “Our drivers suffered from that. But everything will be alright.

“We’ll discuss it over a beer. It was all a bit unfortunate.” recommends

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The Ferrari team-mates will line up fourth and fifth on the Silverstone grid with Leclerc ahead of Sainz while Max Verstappen is on pole position ahead of the McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

Asked if his drivers could potentially challenge the Red Bull driver for the win and end the Milton Keynes squad’s winning streak, Vasseur said: “We have to stay pragmatic and just be focused on the result at the end. It’s true that we made a step forward over the last two or three events.

“We are more consistent in the race and the pace was probably a bit better. It’s still a long way to go and a lot of upgrades to come until the end.

“It was much better [in] Austria and Canada for sure. We were consistent and the delta [from] qualifying to the race was ok.

“Now we know that Silverstone is much more demanding also, that it will be another story depending on the weather, but it’s much more demanding in Silverstone and it will be another challenge.”

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