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Ferrari denies Leclerc undercut was performed to jump Vettel

  • Published on 29 Sep 2019 18:50
  • comments 2
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has denied that Ferrari's undercut strategy for Charles Leclerc was not done to ensure he overtook Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel took the lead of the race on the opening lap, using Leclerc's slipstream to propel himself into first place after he started from third on the grid.

Ferrari had planned to give Vettel Leclerc's slipstream as it aimed to get Vettel in front of Hamilton and run in a one-two formation.

MORELeclerc defends second pit stop as he feared Verstappen overtake

However, Vettel didn't hand the position back to Leclerc when requested to do so by Ferrari, stating that Lewis Hamilton behind in third place was too close.

Leclerc pitted four laps before Vettel and jumped the German driver, before Vettel retired from the race with an MGU-K problem.

“Looking at the video, looking at the start our judgement [was] that the start went as planned and therefore we thought it was right to ask Seb to swap the positions," said Binotto.

“Eventually, the two drivers may have different opinions by driving the car, but that’s something which we may discuss with them.

“We initially asked Seb to give the position back. But it's fair enough to say that at that stage of the race maybe Charles was not close enough and we would have lost some time on track.

"Later on Seb was quite fast and gained some track advantage on Charles. So we knew that we could have decided to do it later on.”

"The undercut was not for the reason of giving back the position to Charles, Charles stopped because of worn tyres. His left-rear was starting to be worn so that was the right moment for him to pit.

“We knew as well that if we would have stopped both our cars we would have been vulnerable on safety cars by leaving the lead to Hamilton. So we tried to stay out as much as we could with Seb simply to protect in case of Safety Cars in that period of the race.

"Seb’s tyres were worn, he called for it, it was the right moment to pit. He pitted and as a matter of fact Charles was ahead, Seb was behind but the race was still not over and there would have been plenty of opportunity to decide what could have been the best option later on.”

Replies (2)

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  • f1ski

    Posts: 540

    BS . There is nothing wrong IMO to favor leclerc at this point. He is ahead in points so maximize his results. Stop controlling the public narrative

    • + 0
    • Sep 30 2019 - 01:04
  • Deny it all you want, it was pretty obvious what it was meant to do. As I've said before, you can dress a horse in a wedding gown and wed it as much as you please, but both you and the horse know that you are bedding a horse. Do I mind? Not necessarily. I found it strategically sound to try and cover off Hammy, and I think Leclerc could've done well in the clean air once the Mercs where outta the way.

    • + 0
    • Sep 30 2019 - 10:53

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