Charles Leclerc didn’t have an easy time after crashing out in France: ex-Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, of all people, jumped to his side
Sebastian Vettel will leave a hole in the premier class after his retirement from Formula 1 – on and off the track. An example of this is provided on Thursday ahead of the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest by his ex-teammate at Ferrari, Charles Leclerc.
The Monegasque threw away a possible victory at the last race in Le Castellet due to a crash. Vettel was there for his former stablemate after the no-holds-barred French Grand Prix. “He is a friend and always texts me, like after last Sunday,” Leclerc now reveals.
“And he always tries to cheer me up when I have a difficult time. It’s nice to see how much I’ve developed since I met him.” In general, Leclerc’s fondest memories of Vettel are not on the track, but off it, he explained in response to a question to that effect from ‘Autosport’.
“It’s all the moments in the factory and the way our relationship has developed over the years. Because I arrived in my first year [at Ferrari] and I was super impressed. And I think I was probably weird with him because I was just shy and didn’t know what to say when I was with him. “
Leclerc: Fondest Vettel memories off the track
At the same time, the relationship between Vettel and Leclerc seemed to be quite strained during their two Ferrari years together, at least on the track. Particularly in the late summer and autumn of 2019, there were repeated controversial scenes, including in qualifying at Monza and in the Singapore and Interlagos races.
On the latter occasion, there was even a clash between the two Ferrari drivers at the time, prompting Vettel to go on a rant on the radio. However, this had no long-term effect on the good relationship between the four-time world champion and Leclerc.
Has Leclerc meanwhile overcome the zero from Le Castellet, also thanks to Vettel’s text message? “Well, I have to,” he answers. “There’s nothing that would help me thinking about my mistake or continuing to live in the past in terms of that mistake. “
Ferrari doesn’t have enough torque in first gear
“I made that mistake and it cost me a lot of points. I am aware of it. And that’s it. Now I just have to keep going, focus 100 per cent on this weekend, try to do the best I can, try to win this race and then I’m sure it will go well. “
Leclerc again stresses that the accident was not preceded by a technical defect. Instead, he takes the blame all on his own – despite a radio call immediately after the departure that suggested a problem with the accelerator pedal was the cause. However, he was apparently referring to difficulties in extricating himself using reverse gear.
Regarding theories that arose in connection with his accident, Ferrari driver Leclerc says: “I understood that there were doubts. But it’s just that the torque is limited in first gear. So I only talked about that [on the pit radio], not about anything else. So it was nothing on the car. “