The Russian Grand Prix laid bare the growing problem Ferrari have managing their drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, much has been written about the Scuderia’s debacle in Sochi but it appears that ‘confusion’ between the drivers that day has been cleared up.
Russia was a one-two for the taking by the Reds, but on the day they imploded as Vettel suffered a DNF and Leclerc found himself on the third step of the podium with Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas doing the double instead.
Speaking to reporters during the drivers’ press conference at Suzuka, Leclerc explained, “Obviously there was some misunderstanding from the car but I think we’ve had a discussion and everything is clear now.
“Obviously it felt like it was a huge deal from the outside, which it definitely wasn’t, but now everything is fine. What is clear is that the situation wasn’t clear for both of the drivers starting the race.
“But what’s important is that we spoke about it and we’ll make sure this situation doesn’t happen again in the future.”
Vettel also suggested that it was a case of a making mountain out of a molehill, “We spoke about it obviously, more than once. We speak with each other. Maybe different to what some people think. But I think it’s pretty clear. Obviously now it’s two weeks ago so we look forward.
As for the rules of engagement with his teammate, the German said, “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.”
Ferrari have enjoyed the upperhand since the summer break, their package strong as expected at power-hungry circuits but also a revelation on the more aero-dependent venues. The general consensus is that, ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, the SF90 is the best package on the grid.
Leclerc acknowledged, “It’s working pretty well since we came back from holidays. The car feels great. We’ve had, I think, four poles in a row, which is nice.
“The last two races have been a bit… not what I expected, but the performance is there, which I think is the most important, and there are no reasons for us not to be competitive this weekend, so we’ll see how it goes,” added the 21-year-old Ferrari driver.
Big Question: Will there be peace between the drivers at Ferrari now?