‘Vettel did not win four titles by being a pushover’

Date published: October 3 2019

Sebastian Vettel's objective is to push along with Leclerc

Two-time World Champion, Mika Hakkinen, has said Charles Leclerc is learning some “tough lessons” at Ferrari, one of them being that Sebastian Vettel is not a “pushover”.

At the Russian Grand Prix, we saw a classic case of vintage Vettel, who ignored team orders from the Ferrari pit wall after taking the lead in the early stages of the race.

Ferrari had arranged a plan pre-race for Vettel to use the slipstream from pole sitter Leclerc down to Turn 2 and then give the place back.

However, Vettel argued that he would have got ahead of Leclerc anyway regardless of the slipstream and said Leclerc needed to hurry up as he continued to pull away.

Leclerc was waiting for the early switch back after respecting the team plan, but it only came to fruition once Ferrari kept Vettel out on an extended first stint and performed the swap themselves via the pit lane.

Leclerc would go on to finish third, while Vettel retired shortly after his stop with a MGU-K failure.

“There is tension in Ferrari between the drivers, and Charles is learning some tough lessons,” Hakkinen summarised in his Unibet column.

“Including the fact that Sebastian did not win four World Championships by being a pushover.

“Compared to Mercedes, Ferrari does not yet have the perfect teamwork between the drivers, and they need to do that if they are going to win consistently. Fighting inside a team never works.”

Hakkinen also said that his fellow Finn, Valtteri Bottas, showed how the team game must be played in order to maximise results.

“This is when the teamwork really kicked in because Valtteri’s job was to defend second place from Charles, who had made a second pit stop and moved back on to another set of softs,” Hakkinen added.

“Valtteri did this perfectly. He is a good overtaker, but he is also excellent at stopping anyone coming past.”

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