Vettel, Leclerc may have ‘escalating’ rivalry

Date published: September 24 2019

Ross Brawn insists Ferrari must be cautious with the "potentially explosive" rivalry between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.

Mercedes principal Toto Wolff believes that Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc could start a “rivalry” at Ferrari which may escalate.

Sebastian Vettel headed a Ferrari one-two at the Singapore GP, but that was after he swapped places with Charles Leclerc when Ferrari used the undercut to put Vettel ahead of his younger team-mate.

Though Leclerc has said that he is starting to “understand” the situation, he was very frustrated at the time, making his thoughts clear over team radio and having little interaction with Vettel after the race.

Wolff therefore thinks there is the potential for a rivalry to break out between the Ferrari drivers, and sees that as a positive for Mercedes in the Championship battle. After all, the Silver Arrows had a similar scenario on their hands when Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were battling for the title as team-mates from 2014-16.

“I think always two alphas competing for position has the potential for a rivalry, and an escalation within the team,” Wolff told Autosport.

“We’ve been there and I think today as a team we’re very strong with a clear philosophy.

“On the positives, they [Leclerc and Vettel] keep taking points away from each other, which is an advantage, but I don’t want to look at points at that stage.

“It’s about optimising what we have, winning races and doing the best you can, and we didn’t do that [in Singapore].”

Vettel remains P5 in the Drivers’ Championship after his win in Singapore but to moved to within 6 points of Leclerc in P3.

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