F1 champions have sympathy with Leclerc's Singapore outburst

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc enters his car during the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix in Spielberg on June 29, 2019. Image:  ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc enters his car during the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix in Spielberg on June 29, 2019. Image: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel insisted that his Singapore Grand Prix victory will not sour his relationship with Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc, who saw his chances of a hat-trick of wins dashed by pit lane strategy in the city state.

Leclerc started on pole last weekend, but lost the lead to Vettel thanks to a decision to use a tactical 'under-cut'.

It was Vettel's first victory since Belgium in August of 2018.

Sympathy with team mate

As Vettel looked ahead to this Sunday's Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, he said that he felt sympathy with Leclerc's radio outburst after the Monegasque driver was denied victory.

He said: "I don't think that you should interpret too much from these messages because we are driving when we are opening the radio -- and I think if you would do the same exercise with any footballer or even a golfer, you'd be surprised.

"There's no point trying to understand a reason behind everything that people say when they are 'in the moment' - it's pretty normal and obviously he wanted to win. He was upset when he realised he was behind, which, if it was the other way around, I probably would have been equally as upset."

READ: Toto Wolff says Ferrari driver rivalry may be 'good' for Mercedes

Vettel revealed he spoke to Leclerc after the race and insisted their relationship will not sour. He noted: "I spoke with him, I didn't speak much about the race. I don't think the undercut story will become nasty, answering all your questions.

"I don't think there is much to elaborate on. We did the race and it was clear what happened. Charles is challenging myself, I'm challenging him. There's only one space on the top step and if you fight for the victory, ultimately, you're not as pleased as the other guy if one takes first and one takes second. That's the nature of our sport."

Understanding the disappointment

Meanwhile, series leader and defending five-time champion Lewis Hamilton said he understood Leclerc's disappointment.

But, recalling his own career, Hamilton advised Leclerc to remember the great chance he has in racing for Ferrari.

The defending champion said: "I can just talk from personal experience and I understand what it's like, but also you have just got to remember your position. If I was to speak to myself as a youngster, I was quite outspoken when I probably didn't need to be, but that's just how I was because I was fiercely competitive."

READ: Mercedes no longer favourites for 2019 races - Hamilton

"You've got to be grateful for being given the opportunity even to win races in a top team, I don't think anyone has gone from their first year to Ferrari in their second year.

"That's an incredibly fortunate position to be in and it's just remembering your place. I wish that I knew that more when I was 22."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Do you think Lewis Hamilton deserves to be knighted by the Queen?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, he is an incredible athlete
30% - 33 votes
No, he hasn't done anything special
21% - 23 votes
He is good, but doesn't deserve the honour
50% - 55 votes