Ferrari: Team order not intended to benefit Vettel

Ferrari Formula 1 team boss Mattia Binotto insists the decision to swap his drivers in the first stint of the Chinese Grand Prix wasn't made to benefit Sebastian Vettel.

Ferrari: Team order not intended to benefit Vettel

Vettel's teammate Charles Leclerc had overtaken the German for third place at the start, but was unable to keep pace with the leading Mercedes cars ahead.

Ferrari soon made the decision to move Vettel ahead of the Monegasque, which Leclerc complied with on the 11th lap despite seemingly objecting to the call on the team radio.

But Vettel could not make any inroads on the Mercedes duo either, prompting Leclerc to inform Ferrari he was now losing time behind his teammate.

Despite Leclerc's star outing in Bahrain, Binotto had reaffirmed ahead of China that four-time champion Vettel remained Ferrari's main hope for the 2019 title.

However, speaking after the race, Binotto stressed the decision to swap cars was not made with the intention to benefit Vettel at Leclerc's expense.

“I understand the feeling of Charles, it's a shame for him,” Binotto told Sky Sports F1. “But at that stage of the race the Mercedes were slightly faster, I think we simply tried to give Sebastian a go and see if we could've kept the pace of the Mercedes, which was key at that stage of the race.

“It was not to give an advantage to a driver, to the other driver, merely as a team to try whatever we could. Early stage was an important moment of the race.”

The position swap cost Ferrari up to a second relative to the Red Bull of Max Verstappen behind, and the Dutchman was able to pull off an undercut, getting ahead of Leclerc and nearly picking off Vettel after the German made his stop.

Binotto believes the team order was not what allowed Verstappen to sneak in between the two Ferrari cars.

“I think with an undercut he would've anyway, one of the two drivers would've been undercut, whoever was the driver.

“As team perspective, I think that wouldn't have changed, that's why again I think the choice was simply try everything we could at that [early] stage.”

Binotto said Leclerc, who finished fifth to Vettel's third, had every right to feel hard done by by how the race unfolded.

“I think if Charles is upset, he's right to be upset, and we should accept it. I think it's a shame for him, and next time maybe it will be to his advantage.”

More from Chinese GP:

shares
comments
Sainz: Kvyat should have been more patient

Previous article

Sainz: Kvyat should have been more patient

Next article

Leclerc: Strategy to hold up Bottas "right thing" for Ferrari

Leclerc: Strategy to hold up Bottas "right thing" for Ferrari
Load comments
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Prime

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Prime

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku Prime

The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021
The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds Prime

The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds

OPINION: With the global pandemic still lingering, Singapore's grand prix has been cancelled for 2021, with more looking likely to follow. Although Formula 1 has TV deals and profits to chase, retaining a 23-race calendar could be most harmful to those who sacrifice the most for the championship.

Formula 1
Jun 8, 2021
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An eventful weekend in Baku full of incident and drama lent the race result an unusual feel, as three drivers scored their first podiums of the year. But it wasn't the eventual race winner who scored top marks in our driver ratings

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021
How three drivers 'won' the Azerbaijan GP Prime

How three drivers 'won' the Azerbaijan GP

Formula 1's return to Baku after a year away had thrown up an eventful qualifying marred by four red flags, but the race appeared to be running to a familiar Red Bull vs Mercedes template entering the closing stages. That is, until a dramatic conclusion where victory was snatched away from two drivers, before landing in the lap of Sergio Perez

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021
The no-ego Williams ace foiled by 90s F1’s technology push Prime

The no-ego Williams ace foiled by 90s F1’s technology push

Racing drivers tend to have deep pockets and short arms, but not Riccardo Patrese, who used to treat his mechanics to sumptuous post-season dinners. NIGEL ROEBUCK looks at the career of a true gentleman

Formula 1
Jun 6, 2021