Formula 1: Charles Leclerc says Sebastian Vettel should not have made move

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer at Yas Marina
Beating Vettel is a great challenge - Leclerc

Charles Leclerc says Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel knows he should not have made the move that triggered their crash in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

But Leclerc added that he shares some of the blame for the collision that took them both out of the last race.

Leclerc said: "Seb probably shouldn't have gone to the left and he knows it, and I could have done a better job of avoiding him going to the left.

"What is important is everything is clear now and we move forward."

Leclerc said the pair will be "less aggressive with each other" on track following discussions with team boss Mattia Binotto in the days between Brazil and the season-closing race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

Leclerc said: "We will be able to race. We are both very competitive and want to win.

"We need to find the right compromise - we both race for the same team. We need to give each other a bit more space."

Leclerc was speaking in the official news conference in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Vettel was also due to attend but was allowed to arrive late at Yas Marina following the birth of his third child.

Leclerc said that he and Vettel had spoken about the incident and agreed both could have done more to avoid it.

The crash happened when Vettel was trying to re-take fourth place approaching Turn Four after Leclerc had passed him into Turn One with five laps to go.

Vettel moved over on Leclerc and his left rear wheel hit Leclerc's front right, breaking his suspension and giving the German a puncture.

Leclerc said: "We called with Seb and we tried to understand both our situations.

"We looked at it - and I particularly looked at it - to try to understand how we could have made things better.

"The consequences were huge but the impact was very small, so that was a little bit unlucky. It was unfortunate but we will make sure it doesn't happen again."

Pressure between the two

The incident was the latest in a series of controversies between the two Ferrari drivers this season.

Pressure has been building all year as Leclerc has emerged as a major force in F1 and threatened Vettel's primacy in the team and has more wins, poles and points than his four-time champion team-mate.

In the early races of the season, there were a series of team orders calls, usually in Vettel's favour.

These stopped happening as Leclerc established a general superiority through the mid-season and out-qualified Vettel nine races in a row.

But from September tension has grown between the two as Vettel has re-found his form and begun to out-qualify Lelcerc again.

At the Italian Grand Prix, Leclerc failed to carry out his side of an agreement in which each driver agreed to give the other a slipstream in qualifying, which angered Vettel.

Ferrari that inadvertently managed to get Vettel ahead of Leclerc and into the lead in Singapore when simply trying to pass Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, who was between the two Ferraris.

And in the subsequent race in Russia, Vettel directly ignored a team order to let Leclerc back into the lead as part of a pre-arranged plan to ensure the two Ferraris were running one-two.

Leclerc had qualified on pole, with Vettel third, and Leclerc agreed to give his team-mate a tow down to the first corner to ensure and let him past, to ensure he overtook Hamilton, who had qualified second.

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has told the drivers the incident in Brazil was "not acceptable" and said the team "know how to move forward".

Sebastian Vettel
After a rant over team radio, Vettel mulls over the collision in his head...
...kicks a stone...
Sebastian Vettel
...and the moment of realisation...

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