Berger criticises Ferrari’s team orders in China
Gerard Berger claims that Ferrari was wrong in favouring Sebastian Vettel over his team-mate Charles Leclerc.
During the initial phase of the Chinese Grand Prix, when the Ferrari duo was running behind the leading Mercedes pair, Leclerc was ordered to let Vettel pass, a decision that reveal detrimental for the Monegasque driver, who ended the race fifth.
Although Ferrari’s boss Mattia Binotto has frequently underlined that in a 50/50 situation that would require an order, Sebastian Vettel would be favoured over his team-mate due to its major experience, Gerard Berger believes that Ferrari’s policies, at this stage of the Formula 1 2019 season, are wrong.
"I think it’s an open game at the moment," said the Austrian.
"As much as I like Sebastian, and as much as I rate him, here’s a boy who is capable to win the world championship.
"I don’t think it’s enough to say, ‘This one is experienced, this one is not experienced, so we take the card of experience.’ I think they got it wrong.
"Saying this, you always have to discuss this point in a different way – it depends where you are in the season.
"Last year, when we were in Monza, when [Maurizio] Arrivabene said we let everything run open, when the championship was already going into the final stage, it was clear that if somebody has a chance it’s not Kimi Raikkonen, it’s Sebastian.
"So there I would react the other way. It’s a question of when it is, and is it really giving somebody not even a chance to win the championship? And if you do it in the first or second race, I don’t agree."
Gerard Berger, added that Vettel is facing a difficult role at the moment. Competing for the role of team-leader within its team and contending the Mercedes duo, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, constitutes a double-burden for the four times Formula 1 world champions.
In the last race he brought himself a little bit into this situation because it was up to him to ask.
"If you’re not sure you can pull away, in this situation it was maybe not the best thing to do. Because soon you’re going to have two camps.
"No question, Sebastian has a difficult role at the moment, having the young boy at the neck, having to deliver a championship for Ferrari, and to win the championship means beating Lewis.
"That’s maybe the biggest headache!"
Berger, then, concluded praising Charles Leclerc.
"He is an outstanding boy, is Leclerc, as much as we talked two or three years ago about [Max] Verstappen. He has a different style," insisted the former Grand Prix driver.
"And the other guy who impressed me in the first two or three races when I didn’t expect him to be that strong was Lando Norris, another one.
"It’s great to see some young ones coming."