Vettel: You’re misled if you think you’re bigger than Ferrari

Marina Bay, Singapore

Singapore Grand Prix – Sebastian Vettel says that ‘no individual’ can be bigger than Ferrari, in what could be interpreted as a message to Charles Leclerc.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel appears to have offered some advice to teammate Charles Leclerc in the wake of Vettel’s victory in Singapore. The four time Champion returned to the top spot of the podium after an absence of more than a year on Sunday, having benefitted from a strategy call and undercut that resulted in him taking the lead once Leclerc pitted a lap later.

“I think you are very misled if you ever think that you are bigger than this team.” said Vettel when asked about whether he felt the win was more of a team or personal victory. “I don’t think any individual can be bigger than this team.”

“I said on the radio, the first thing is obviously this is a victory for the team because if you look at the hard facts then we came here after we got completely destroyed in Hungary. We had a minute gap between the leaders, the winners and us and coming here, similar track at least in terms of car specification, to be in a position where we were able to fight for pole yesterday and take control of the race, that’s a team success, as I said on the radio and that’s what I honestly feel.”

“So of course you’re looking after your own race and for yourself but I think nothing can beat this team. I was very down after Monza for myself but up for the team and obviously today I’m a bit more up for myself but still very up for the team, as I said, because it was also a very positive surprise with how we were able to be more competitive here.”

His comments were made after Charles Leclerc was quite vocal about how he felt the strategy call that benefitted Vettel ‘wasn’t fair’ after not being told that Ferrari had pitted Sebastian on what would be the Monegasque’s in-lap.

There has been suggestion in the media, particularly Italian press, that there’s tension in the ranks at Ferrari with two drivers vying for supremacy. This tension came to light in Monza two weeks ago, when Leclerc appeared to ignore team instruction to give Sebastian Vettel a tow during his first qualifying run. This came just a week after Vettel played a crucial part in helping Leclerc to his maiden F1 victory by holding up Lewis Hamilton for a few laps during the Belgian Grand Prix.

On his side, Leclerc said that the undercut plan hadn’t been discussed ahead of the race, and that he was frustrated to have lost out as a result of the earlier stop for Vettel: “I was surprised because obviously I was not aware in the car, but I guess if this decision has been made it was for the good of the team and it had to be the only way for us to do a one-two. So if it’s the case I completely understand it, but obviously from the car it’s very frustrating. So not completely happy but yeah, anyway the overall result of the weekend is very positive. We hoped for at least one car on the podium for this weekend and we go back home with a one-two, which we definitely did not expect on a track like this. So this is very positive.”

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Thomas Maher

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