Sebastian Vettel & Charles Leclerc say dispute is over

Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc
Leclerc (left) has out-qualified Vettel nine times in a row

Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc say they have put their dispute over team orders at the Russian Grand Prix behind them.

Vettel ignored orders to let Leclerc by him a number of times in the early laps of the race, reneging on a pre-race agreement between the drivers and team.

"We spoke about it, more than once. It is pretty clear and now it is two weeks ago, so moving forward," said Vettel.

Leclerc said "everything is clear" over what he called a "misunderstanding".

The 21-year-old from Monaco added: "Obviously it felt like it was a huge deal from the outside - which it definitely wasn't. But, yeah, now everything is fine."

The team's agreement with the drivers before the race in Russia was for Leclerc, who started from pole position, to give Vettel, who started third behind Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, a slipstream down to the first corner to ensure they were running one-two.

The plan was for Leclerc to let Vettel overtake him into the first corner, but for Vettel to allow him back past into the lead again.

But Vettel refused to move over, first arguing they should try to pull further clear of Hamilton before doing the manoeuvre, and then that Leclerc was too far behind for him to slow down and let him past.

In the end, the situation was resolved at the pit stops, when Ferrari pitted Leclerc first and ran Vettel longer, which allowed Leclerc to run faster on new tyres and so be ahead when Vettel made his pit stop, although the team denied that this had been deliberate.

Leclerc, who joined Ferrari this year, said it had been "clear from the beginning of the season" that the pair had to obey team orders but added: "What is clear is that the situation wasn't clear for both of the drivers, starting the race, and I think that's the most important (thing).

"So we spoke about it and we'll make sure that this situation doesn't happen again in the future."

Vettel added: "We didn't write anything in stone. Obviously probably certain things we could have done better looking back but in the end we look forward to this race and the next races."

The 32-year-old denied that his actions had been influenced by the fact that Leclerc has been out-performing him in recent races.

Leclerc has out-qualified Vettel nine times in a row, has five poles to his one, and has won two races and Vettel one.

Vettel said: "Obviously I am not happy if I am slower, whether it is practice or qualifying or race. And that's the same not just this year.

"There are certain things this year (with which) I struggled here and there with the car which didn't allow me to maybe extract my best, but I don't think it would have been any different if anybody else would have been in the other car.

"Charles has been doing a very good job, but it's largely, I generally believe, a race against yourself and then the others. In that regard, I struggled to extract what I know I have in me.

"But on the other side it also looks different on the outside than it is on the inside. There have been races where things maybe didn't fall into place so didn't look that great on the outside but we were doing the right things and tackling the right things on the inside, so I am not worried in that regard."

Hamilton described the situation at Ferrari as "an interesting dynamic", saying: "There's always going to be friction because you have conflicting targets. It's a team but it's also an individual sport with two drivers and you're constantly trying to balance that conflict and friction.

"It's managing from the top down. It's just about respect, how it's managed, communication is key. There are different philosophies between these two teams and in the following years we'll see how it works.

"It hasn't worked for a long time with them and it most likely won't in the future either."

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