Ferrari defend decision to let Vettel pass LeClerc in Chinese Grand Prix

Ferrari defend decision to let Vettel pass LeClerc in Chinese Grand Prix

Ferrari have stood by their decision to hand Sebastian Vettel preferential treatment in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.

As Lewis Hamilton moved into the lead of the championship for the first time this season, by virtue of winning Formula One’s 1,000th race, Charles Leclerc found himself under instruction to relinquish third place to his more experienced team-mate.

Leclerc, in just his third outing for Ferrari, had been reluctant to move aside for Vettel, and later dropped behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, too, after the Dutchman stole a march with an early stop for new tyres.

Grand Prix of China (PA Graphics)
Grand Prix of China (PA Graphics)

The Monegasque, who has now been issued a team order by Ferrari at each of the opening three rounds, admitted he was frustrated with the decision and wanted an explanation.

But Mattia Binotto, the rookie team principal for Ferrari, insisted they delivered the correct call in favouring Vettel, the four-time world champion and winner of 52 grands prix.

“We made the right choice,” he said.

“It was not easy to give the order, and I thank Charles for the way he behaved and showing he is a good team player.

“We tried everything we could not to lose time on the Mercedes cars ahead and that was among the only chance we got at the time. So, we tried. It didn’t work. It was right to give Seb that chance.”

Hamilton finished ahead of Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes secured a hat-trick of one-two finishes from the opening three rounds.

The Englishman, a six-time winner in Shanghai, is already 31 points clear of Vettel in the championship as he chases a sixth title.

Leclerc is a point further back.

The start was where I made the difference

“We definitely didn’t expect to have three one-twos, but I’m proud to have been part of the work that everyone has done and to be a part of these results,” said Hamilton as he celebrated his 75th career victory from 232 starts.

Hamilton, who is now just 16 wins shy of Michael Schumacher’s win record, jumped pole-sitter Bottas with a fine getaway.

“The start was where I made the difference,” he added. “After that it’s history.”

- Press Association

GAA podcast: Cork SHC preview, Ilen shock. GAA's hip injury epidemic?

More on this topic

Ex-Formula One driver got botox injections into his eye on long road to racing, and winning, againEx-Formula One driver got botox injections into his eye on long road to racing, and winning, again

British GP could be moved to avoid clash with other sporting crown jewelsBritish GP could be moved to avoid clash with other sporting crown jewels

Five things we learned from the British Grand PrixFive things we learned from the British Grand Prix

Ferdinand points to ‘racist’ element in criticism of Lewis HamiltonFerdinand points to ‘racist’ element in criticism of Lewis Hamilton

More in this Section

Geraint Thomas set to battle for supremacy in decisive stages of Tour de FranceGeraint Thomas set to battle for supremacy in decisive stages of Tour de France

Chelsea teenager excited by ‘perfect step’ as he agrees loan move to RB LeipzigChelsea teenager excited by ‘perfect step’ as he agrees loan move to RB Leipzig

Open winner Shane Lowry enjoys celebrations at Dublin pubOpen winner Shane Lowry enjoys celebrations at Dublin pub

'He’d have all the turf mould ate' - Shane Lowry's granny reveals his winning formula'He’d have all the turf mould ate' - Shane Lowry's granny reveals his winning formula


Lifestyle

Many of us will have experienced that super friendly cat who seems to love being stoked one minute, only to bite or swipe at us the next.How to stroke a cat, according to science

The band frontman has forayed into the world of seaweed with his best friend Dr Craig Rose. Ella Walker finds out more.Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs: ‘Seaweed ticks all the boxes of sustainability’

We’ve all had that feeling at some stage as we step off fast amusement park ride, or simply spin around for fun; that feeling of dizziness and disorientation and finding it difficult to stay upright. But why do we feel dizzy when we spin?Appliance Of Science: Why do we feel dizzy when we spin around?

Padraic Killeen reviews Epiphany from the Town Hall Theatre, Galway.Epiphany Review: Not a straightforward adaptation of Joyce’s scenario

More From The Irish Examiner