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Tensions heightened between Vettel and Leclerc

Tensions heightened between Vettel and Leclerc

By Stephanie Horsman - December 1, 2020

Ferrari teammates Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc nearly collided at the Bahrain Grand Prix on the weekend, and Vettel openly declared that he was none too pleased with the Monegasque’s moves.

“Again! He can’t just do that, as if I wasn’t there. It’s the same as Austria, seriously. This time maybe we should have crashed, maybe that was the better option!”

That was the heat of the moment war cry from Sebastian Vettel on his car radio as Charles Leclerc nearly side-swiped him through a corner at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, thus pushing him from the inside track.

The frustration level expressed by Vettel stems from a similar incident at the Austrian Grand Prix where Leclerc actually did side-swipe his teammate, causing damage to his own car and forcing Vettel to immediately retire from the race. Leclerc had to follow suit only a few laps later.

Tensions between the two are well-noted and have grown significantly since the start of this season. They speak of one another through a very thin veneer of politeness, but the cracks are apparent to all. Neither has much good to say about the other these days.

“I took extra care for Charles who I think maybe was a bit ruthless,” Vettel said in an interview with F1 after the race. “After that I think maybe it was a lost fight from there.”

He went on to say, “All morning we talked about leaving space for each other, and then you go into the smallest gap that doesn’t exist and pray that the other sees you and gets out of the way. I was considerate of the other car from us. But I think he showed no consideration. I was particularly careful with Charles, but he was maybe a bit inconsiderate.”

Leclerc was quick to defend himself, declaring, “From my side, I can only say that it was of course extremely tight. But unlike at the Styria Grand Prix, where I did not position myself in a visible position, this time I tried to advance further so that he could see me. But I made sure that he saw me. You can argue that maybe there wasn’t enough spacing between our cars, considering we’re on the same team. But yes … that’s it.”

The end result is that neither pilot had a stellar day, with Vettel finishing 13th and Leclerc in 10th. The race also saw a horrific crash, being touted as one of the worst ever, where Romain Grosjean’s car hit the rails and burst into flames. Happily, the French driver came out relatively unharmed with some burns to his hands and is due to be released from hospital on Tuesday.

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