Sebastian Vettel has claimed that he 'wasn't surprised' his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc ignored orders and overtook him during last month's Bahrain Grand Prix.
After realising he was quicker than the German, Leclerc was instructed by team bosses during the race to wait two laps before passing the four-time world champion, but did so less than a lap later and eventually finished the race two places ahead of Vettel in third.
"I think it was quite clear that he was quite a lot faster at that point," Vettel said, per GP Blog. "I could have passed him back on the next straight but for me the way I judged it at that point was that it's going to cost me more time and him more time."
"The race was very long from that point onwards, as I've said. It didn't go exactly my way on that Saturday, so at that point it wasn't part of trying to destroy or trying to hold Charles' Sunday back."
Leclerc has also defended himself by offering a similar version of events.
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“In this particular situation I think I had quite a big pace advantage at this moment of the race and I had the opportunity in the straight and I just didn’t see myself lifting and staying behind," he said. “So I just went for the opportunity. It was a safe pass and I went for it.”
Vettel and Leclerc are still getting to used together since the Monacan replaced Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari after his debut season at Sauber, but the former has been full of praise for his new teammate.
"I think he's a good kid. He's fast, so (are) the ingredients and the reason - as he's proven many times before entering into Formula 1 - why he's deserved a place."
Meanwhile, Leclerc has played down suggestions that he is a contender for this year's Formula 1 title. He was leading the race until a power unit failure allowed Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to finish ahead of him on the podium.
“I need to focus on what I’m doing in the car, try to work as hard as possible and trying to do the best job in the car and outside the car and then I’m pretty sure the results will come," he explained.
“Then we’ll see. We are only at the third race in the season, it’s very early on. We’ll see how we get on in the next few races. But hopefully we keep the momentum from Bahrain going.”
All eyes will be on Ferrari in China this weekend to see how the newly established relationship continues to unfold.News Now - Sport News