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Hakkinen: Leclerc learning Vettel is not a pushover

  • Published on 05 Oct 2019 12:16
  • comments 10
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen believes Charles Leclerc is learning that his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel is not a pushover.

Leclerc won two consecutive races in Belgium and Italy before losing out to Vettel in Singapore, as the latter performed an undercut which placed him into the lead of the race, before going on to take the chequered flag.

In Russia, a pre-planned strategy by Ferrari saw Vettel move from third to first on the opening lap by using Leclerc's slipstream to get ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel would go on to retire from the race with an MGU-K problem following a lengthy radio discussion in which he refused to hand Leclerc the lead back, stating that the Monegasque driver needed to close up as Hamilton was too close behind.

MOREWolff: Mercedes has 'got to step up' to Ferrari's level | Leclerc not expecting reliability to be a Ferrari concern

Hakkinen sees tension between the two Ferrari drivers that were paired together for the first time this year and the Finn has called on Ferrari to get on top of driver management.

"After starting from pole position - his fourth pole in a row - Charles Leclerc had every right to expect a great result on Sunday, but it all went wrong when he agreed to give Sebastian a tow down the long straight to the first proper corner, Turn 2," Hakkinen wrote in his Unibet column.

"In agreeing to give Sebastian the lead it opened up the opportunity for him to control the race, which he did perfectly.

"There is tension in Ferrari between the drivers, and Charles is learning some tough lessons. Including the fact that Sebastian did not win four World Championships by being a pushover.

"Compared to Mercedes, Ferrari does not yet have the perfect teamwork between the drivers, and they need to do that if they are going to win consistently. Fighting inside a team never works."

Mercedes will have 'real battle' if Ferrari sorts its drivers

Hakkinen added that Mercedes will have a "battle on its hands" if Ferrari can quickly pull together and ease the tension between its two drivers.

"Only five Grands Prix remain this season, and next we are off to Japan for one of my favourite events at one of the best tracks in the world - Suzuka," he stated. 

"The close battle between the three top teams will continue, with Ferrari’s speed and acceleration likely to give them an edge which may force both Mercedes and Red Bull to once again look for alternative strategies.  

"The inter-team battle at Ferrari may continue, but if they can resolve that and find a way to work together, then Mercedes Benz will have a real battle on its hands. Not just in Japan, but for the rest of the season."

Replies (10)

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  • I think Seb is doing what it takes to justify his position and remind F1 as a whole he is not finished business. He has been ruthless before and frankly he needs to continue to be. He doesn't need to be liked by anybody but he does need to respect his team - its a fine balance.

    • + 0
    • Oct 5 2019 - 12:45
    • People act surprised, but Seb never really lost speed. He just lacks consistency under pressure. Bith in quali and the race. He's been particularly bad the last three years though. Singapore was long overdue, but it was also relatively easy since nobody could really attack him. Russia would have been a better test but we didn't get a chance to see it. Although, I doubt Charles would have accomplish anything against Seb.

      Bottom line is that when Seb does well it makes massive headlines, but it shouldn't. The other thing is that Seb shouldn't be paid so much more than guys like Max, Daniel,, and yes Charles.

      • + 0
      • Oct 5 2019 - 16:26
  • Dert38

    Posts: 116

    Skillely vette is finished , really poor performance overall.

    • + 0
    • Oct 5 2019 - 13:32
  • f1ski

    Posts: 516

    what we have seen is a set that has lost his ability to be on the edge during qualifying . That may not return. we have also seen a Seb coming in and out of the red mist during races making big mistakes that hopefully is gone and he will contend.

    • + 0
    • Oct 5 2019 - 15:24
  • Having LeClerc come onboard was just what Seb needed. Now he's getting that eye of the tiger back again. He hasn't lost anything. Maybe a bit of a slump but he has had some amazing quali performances. That kind of talent just doesn't go away in a year. Granted LeClerc is a surprise, but Vettel still has got what it takes. It's a question of if his heart is in it.

    • + 0
    • Oct 6 2019 - 03:09
  • I don't think Vettel has necessarily deteriorated in terms of skills, it's the cool he needs to get back. The rest here I think is him just not being comfortable in the car, he tend to do a lot of weird mistakes, and the car's philosophy goes straight against what he has been driving before. RB's cars along with most Ferraris up until this year have always prioritized handling over straightline speed, so I don't think Vettel has the kinda margins with this car that he is used to.

    • + 0
    • Oct 6 2019 - 10:58
    • It's also got to be frustrating for Vettel, a German working in an Italian team. I've done business in both countries and their whole approach to business is very different which reflects the cultures there. The Germans like having everything very precise and efficient both in terms of production and corporate culture where the Italian companies tend to be a little less productive and more chaotic with strong personalities affecting business decisions instead of what is the most efficient and effective way to achieve results. Vettel is no Schumacher that's for sure. In the sense that he doesn't have the drive and leadership qualities. It's good LeClerc is there to push him to work harder.

      • + 0
      • Oct 6 2019 - 12:46
    • Honestly, I'd like it if Vettel returned to RBH. He wouldn't, but I think he'd be happier there. Meanwhile, Hammy could move to Ferrari in an attempt to prove that he can win even without Merc', and Verstappen or someone could get into a Merc' (not that I'd necessarily think he'd fit there, but a 3-way switcharoo would be fun and healthy for F1 methinks).

      • + 0
      • Oct 6 2019 - 13:56
    • @Calle - I think. you will find Ham did win, and won very well outside of Merc - that story's is old hat mate. I seem to recall his McLaren back then wasn't the best car also.

      • + 0
      • Oct 6 2019 - 14:50
    • I think people get carried away with this "only winning in the best car" situation. Nobody wins a championship with the third best car. It's always a top 2 car. The closest I saw anyone come was Alonso with Ferrari, which I didn't consider to be the 2nd best car.

      Most of Ayrton's iconic races and wins were with a car more dominant than the Mercedes. Schumacher never won championship in the second best car. In 2000 it was pretty close to McLaren, but the remaining championships Benetton and Ferrari had not just the best car, but a dominant car.

      Sebastian had the best car by far every championship he won. I think 2010 may seem like the Red Bull was on par with other cars, but I think it was just driver and strategy errors that made it seem closer than it was.

      Alonso won with the 2nd best car in 2005-2006. Arguably the best car in 2005 but not by much.

      Mika Hakkinen won in the best car in 1998, 1999 it wasn't the best car but he won largely due to Schumacher being injured half the season.

      Jaques Villeneuve, Damon Hill, and Jenson Button won a single chip with incredibly dominant cars.

      Anyway... I think you get it. My point is that you gauge the skill and greatness of drivers over long stretches of time and a variety of circumstances. Consequently, it doesn't seem to me that Hamilton has anything to prove since he accomplished so much with the 2nd or 3rd best car on the grid with McLaren and with Mercedes (in 2013).

      I do confess that I would love to see massive changes on the grid, but merely for entertainment purposes. I agree that moving to Seb to Red Bull would be fun. I'd love to see a midfield driver get a chance at Ferrari or Mercedes. Lewis in Ferrari would be interesting, but I would personally find it a bit repugnant. I bit like Luis Figo moving from Barcelona to Real Madrid.

      • + 0
      • Oct 8 2019 - 00:23
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