Formula 1

Vettel and Charles Leclerc.

Martin Brundle says Ferrari’s team orders are 'humiliating and frustrating' for Charles Leclerc

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Martin Brundle has criticised Ferrari’s team orders during this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

During the race, Charles Leclerc was ordered to let teammate Sebastian Vettel past as he was deemed to be in the faster car, and is still considered Ferrari's number one driver in terms of the championship.

Although Vettel was given free air by the swap, he couldn’t chase down the Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Due to the team orders, Leclerc then eventually fell to fifth place, being overtaken by Red Bull's Max Verstappen before the conclusion of the race.

Leclerc was unhappy with the decision and said after the race that he wanted to speak with Ferrari bosses to understand why that decision was made.

The former F1 driver, and now Sky Sports pundit, has warned Ferrari they risk harming Leclerc’s 'credibility' if they keep considering him the number two.

Brundle said in his post-race Sky Sports column: "A general perception was that Vettel and his set up was the faster Ferrari in Shanghai, and so when he ended up in the slipstream of Leclerc in the sister car, with the Mercedes pulling away up front, the team had to do something about it.

“They ordered Leclerc to let him through which of course is humiliating and frustrating for the young Monegasque, and especially galling after car reliability robbed him of a glorious victory two weeks earlier.

"They mustn't harm his credibility and paint him as a support act, that's damaging psychologically and reputation wise, and isn't easy to reverse.

AUTO-PRIX-CHN-F1

"Ferrari has been remarkably open and frank about how they will handle team orders this season, with a bias towards the more experienced Vettel if required.

"This was presumably to avoid some of the mistakes and dramas in recent years which created significant criticism and pressure.

"But it won't diffuse or solve the problem because Leclerc is every bit the match for Vettel and he's his own man despite his tender years.”

Shanghai wasn’t the first place Ferrari have turned to team orders this season, having used them in Australia and in Bahrain.

Topics:
Charles Leclerc
Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari
Formula 1

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