Vasseur: Light contact between Sainz and Leclerc in F1 Spanish GP “part of the game”

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
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Fred Vasseur has played down simmering tensions between his drivers following the Spanish Grand Prix.

Speaking post-race, Charles Leclerc explained that the team had said before the race to look after the tyres and in the opening stint as they looked to put the pressure on Lewis Hamilton in front later on.

However, Carlos Sainz decided to make a move on lap 3 to take P5 from his teammate, although the overtake resulted in contact as the Spaniard pinched Leclerc at the turn 1 apex.

Although Leclerc eventually prevailed in the internal battle as he extended his first two stints, it was not quite enough to get George Russell for P4 at the end.

In his written media session, Fred Vasseur said they could find numerous examples as to why Leclerc failed to finish P4 in the end, believing what happened on lap 3 was not the reason for it.

“I think you can find ten examples of ten circumstances in the race where we missed half a second or others, after when Carlos let him go very easily also later on, and we missed a couple of tenths during two or three laps.

“Let us discuss and not to draw a conclusion after the first comment of the driver when he jumped out of the car.”

Pushed on whether Ferrari had discussed the strategy pre-race to save tyres, Vasseur did not confirm they did.

Nonetheless, they all knew that saving tyres was key due to the nature of the corners at the Barcelona circuit, as well as the fragile Pirelli tyres.

“We don’t speak like this about the strategy of the race, but we knew before that if you have a look at all the races in Barcelona for 25 years now, the first stint is a bit boring, it’s more to take position on track.

“And then when you start the pit stop to have still potential into the tyres to push, and it was more the approach, but it’s not that [you say] ‘don’t push turn one, don’t push turn two’.”

It’s not the first time that there’s been controversy between Sainz and Leclerc on track. Although they have never crashed into each other big time, team orders and ignoring instructions has been a theme at various points.

Vasseur believes that everything is fine between the pair and he does not need to intervene to fix anything.

“No, first out of the car they have a very good relationship and good mutual trust.

“Now they are racers, for sure you can have this kind of case, but I know also perfectly that from this simulation we are getting a lot.

“Last year if we recover it’s also because you had this simulation between them and this competition all over the season.

“The damage on the car was nothing, and it’s part of the game.”