Managing the internal rivalry that inevitably exploded between Vettel and Leclerc has just become Ferrari’s toughest task to handle. Having tried their best to prevent the two from clashing at the beginning of the season, Ferrari actually knew that its drivers’ strong personalities and desire to win would collide at some point.
Leclerc’s fiery personality and Vettel’s feisty attitude do not get along, when it comes to winning races or team orders kicking in. There is nothing wrong with Ferrari trying to suffocate the expansion of any inconvenient rumours about the fact that Vettel and Leclerc will not accept to be #1 or #2, but it feels wrong that Leclerc always turns out to be the sacrificial victim in order to protect Vettel’s integrity within the team.
The German has been performing under the weather on numerous occasions this year. Today it was not the case, as he displayed some serious pace which allowed him to pull of on his teammate, but when Leclerc was in for a fight which he could win comfortably, Ferrari always had to interfere. It appears that the team was doing it as if it felt a moral obligation towards Vettel, who obviously went through a rough first half of the season, and the press already depicted him at his decline. I think Ferrari being this much overprotective towards Vettel was nothing but detrimental to him, as it ended up holding the whole team back by losing its direction as a whole.
More straightforwardness from the team while managing complex situations as today’s first stint would be certainly welcome by the drivers as well. In fact, Ferrari drivers would feel more pleased with the team’s firm hand in certain circumstances rather than being politely asked to force a smile on their faces.