Former driver turned pundit, Jolyon Palmer, feels there is “psychological warfare” at Ferrari, saying the “needly” driver rivalry needs to stop.
Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc created the latest chapter in their ongoing rivalry at the Scuderia when a collision between the pair in Brazil ended with both drivers out of the race and zero points for Ferrari.
The dynamic between the duo is under the microscope once again following the latest incident, with Palmer going as far as saying it is now “warfare” with Vettel and Leclerc continuing to go up against each other.
“It’s psychological warfare at Ferrari,” Palmer said in BBC Sport’s Chequered Flag podcast.
“Leclerc’s move on Vettel into Turn 1 was really, really good. It was a fantastic move. Bit of a lunge, late, decisive, clean, up the inside, brilliant stuff.
“He then actually did give Vettel enough space. At first it looked tight but he did give him enough space and Vettel just continues to move over towards the middle of the road where Leclerc still is and hit him in a straight line.
“It’s baffling…when your team-mates you really don’t need to be doing this.
“It is about the first time they have really raced together on track with no team orders this year. It’s unacceptable.
“I’m not going to criticise [Mattia] Binotto for letting them race. It’s up to drivers to not run into each other when you are team-mates.
“It’s unacceptable to clash with your team-mate on a straight. There is no way you can blame Binotto for this incident between two world-class drivers.
“It’s up to them and it’s really poor.”
Asked if he felt whether the red mist descended over Vettel in the incident, Palmer said: “I think that’s exactly what it is and this is where the psychology comes in.
“The rivalry is so intense and we have seen it in many, many races this year. There is huge needle between the two.
“I’m sure after Vettel got done at Turn 1 he thought ‘oh no you don’t, I’ll put some manners on you’ and cocked it up.
“I’m fairly sure Vettel will know he has done something wrong…but they need to stop this needly rivalry between them.”