Bahrain Grand Prix – Charles Leclerc is adamant that he had no issue with being instructed not to battle with team-mate Sebastian Vettel at the Australian Grand Prix.
The first example of the anticipated team orders at Ferrari came in the closing stages of the Melbourne race when Leclerc began to close in on Vettel.
At the that stage, Vettel – in fourth place – was some distance behind third-placed Max Verstappen and was unable to close the gap.
Leclerc closed up but, with a big gap to Kevin Magnussen in sixth, Ferrari issued the instruction for Leclerc to stay behind his team-mate.
Ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Leclerc was asked if he had any issues with receiving the instruction so early on in the season.
“There was no frustration on my side,” said Leclerc.
“Obviously, it was the first race, but on the team side I don’t think there was anything to gain from me being fourth and Seb fifth, or me fifth and Seb fourth.
“It was exactly the same amount of points for the team, so it’s understandable that they didn’t want us to take the risk by fighting each other and risk losing more points.”
When asked if Ferrari had understood the reasons for their lack of competitiveness compared to Mercedes in Australia, Leclerc commented that a clearly picture would be gained from a more representative track like the Bahrain International Circuit.
“We expect to be more competitive. I think our package is strong,” Leclerc added. “We have some answers to the lack of performance in Melbourne. I don’t think we have all of them, but we definitely have some answers.
“Melbourne is not such a representative track for car performance, even though it shows we’re not as strong as we want to be. There’s a lot of work to do, and I’m pretty confident that the team have done the right job in between Melbourne and here to try and improve.
“We’ll see this weekend if it’s track-specific or if it’s something else, but I’m pretty confident in the package we have.”