Sebastian Vettel has denied that Charles Leclerc’s hot streak was a factor in his decision to ignore team orders at the Russian Grand Prix.
Even though the Formula 1 roadshow has rolled on to Suzuka, the press are still keen for answers on the fall-out from the race in Sochi which Ferrari headlined for all the wrong reasons.
Vettel’s refusal to give the P1 position back to Leclerc in the early stages of the race caused the latest controversial episode involving the pair, but Vettel said he was not motivated by Leclerc’s recent domination of the head-to-head stats.
“No, not at all,” Vettel said via Crash.Net when asked if Leclerc’s improved form led to him wanting to be even more eager to stay out ahead of his team-mate in Russia.
“Obviously I’m not happy if I am slower, whether it’s practice, qualifying or race but that has been the same, not just this year but years before as well.
“There are certain things this year I’ve struggled with here and there with the car which didn’t allow me to extract my best, I don’t think it would have been any different if anyone else was in the car.
“Charles is doing a very good job, but I think it’s largely and I genuinely believe it’s first a race against yourself and then the others.
“In that regard, I struggled to extract what I know I have in me. On other side, it also very quickly looks different on the outside than it does on the inside.
“There have been races where things didn’t fall into place and therefore things didn’t look great on the outside. But I think we were tackling the right things on the inside. So I’m not worried.”
Vettel also said that Ferrari could learn from the mistakes of Sochi, but nothing was “set in stone” for even stricter orders to be implemented.
“We spoke about it obviously, more than once,” Vettel added.
“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.”