Sport F1 boss warns Ferrari over Vettel-Leclerc showdown
Charles Leclerc takes shock Ferrari pole in Singapore
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel were denied by Charles Leclerc in Singapore, with the Monegasque claiming his third consecutive pole.The Ferrari driver, who has won the last two races, took his fifth pole of 2019 and third in succession with a tremendous lap of one minute and 36.217 seconds in the final moments of qualifying.
The man who guided Michael Schumacher to his seven world titles says the current Ferrari pairing of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel is a "potentially explosive combination."
For the third race in a row the Russian Grand Prix saw friction between the pair, as Vettel ignored team orders to allow Leclerc past into the lead, apparently reneging on a pre-race deal.
It followed drama at both the Italian and Singapore races that has seen the situation between the pair reach crisis point, with Italian media referring to the "poisonous" atmosphere within the team.
Vettel beats Leclerc to end F1 win drought
Sebastian Vettel won his first F1 race in over a year for Ferrari after beating Charles Leclerc at the Singapore GP, with Lewis Hamilton only fourth. Vettel started third under the lights but jumped ahead of his team-mate and Hamilton after Ferrari pitted him first - a decision which Leclerc questioned as the pole-sitter was denied a third straight victory.Leclerc questions 'unfair strategy' require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.
With both drivers under contract for next year, and Ferrari finally with a car that can consistently challenge Mercedes, the stage is set for a showdown between the two.
The situation has come to a head due to Leclerc's pace since he joined the Scuderia. The 21-year-old has outqualified Vettel nine times in a row, a situation Vettel wouldn't have anticipated at the start of the season.
Instead, the four-time world champion finds himself well and truly on the back foot as he seeks to re-establish his position as the team leader.
Now Ross Brawn, the former technical boss at Ferrari who is now Formula One's director of motorsport, has weighed into the debate, suggesting the team could be facing a major problem.
"On the one hand they have a four-time world champion who is still one of the finest drivers on the grid, despite a few too many mistakes over the past two seasons," said Brawn.
Renault boss' worrying warning for Ricciardo
Cyril Abiteboul is already trying to downplay expectations for 2020 as Daniel Ricciardo targets a podium finish.Wholesale rule changes are expected for 2021, creating an opportunity for teams to upset the traditional running order of the sport, as Mercedes did when the regulations last changed in 2014.
"And on the other, they have an incredible talent in Charles Leclerc – after all you don't take six poles, including four in a row, and win two races at legendary circuits such as Spa and Monza if you're not a star in the making.
"It's a potentially explosive combination and needs careful handling.
"Of course, (team boss) Mattia (Binotto) is well aware of how this kind of dynamic can work as he has experienced it before when he was a young engineer.
"But now the honour and obligation falls to him to make sure that mechanism that drives what can be healthy rivalry runs smoothly."
The opening stages of Sunday's Russian Grand Prix were marked by often tense radio messages between the Ferrari pitwall and their two drivers.
Vettel was ignoring a pre-race agreement to cede the lead to Leclerc, who had started from pole position and given his teammate a slipstream down to the first braking zone.
Leclerc takes 4th straight pole at Russian GP, Hamilton 2nd
SOCHI, Russia (AP) Charles Leclerc clinched his fourth straight pole position and championship leader Lewis Hamilton was second in qualifying at Formula One's Russian Grand Prix on Saturday. © APWF Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco steers his racer during the third free practice at the 'Sochi Autodrom' Formula One circuit, in Sochi, Russia, Saturday Sept. 28, 2019. The Formula one race will be held on Sunday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno) Leclerc finished 0.402 seconds clear of Hamilton, with Leclerc's Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel third fastest at the Sochi Autodrome.
Publicly the team was trying to pretend that all is well, although Binotto took exception at Leclerc airing the team's dirty laundry for the world to hear.
"I think there are some things that should not be said on the radio because at the end it would not have changed our decision, or it will only somehow increase the excitement of the race itself," Binotto told Channel 4.
"There are times to say something and times not to say.
"I think in that respect he knows that he has to learn and the fact that he apologised means he understood."
Perhaps in an effort to keep the Italian media at bay, the PR campaign has also kicked into gear, with Ferrari issuing a release overnight highlighting Vettel's visit to the factory at Maranello, a seemingly routine event in preparation for next week's Japanese Grand Prix.
The release breathlessly informed the world that "Sebastian started the day with a positive and constructive meeting with team principal Mattia Binotto before joining the engineers. In the afternoon, it was time to get in the simulator cockpit for a session assessing the SF90 running in different track conditions."
Hamilton wins in Russia to end Ferrari's run of success
Hamilton wins in Russia to end Ferrari's run of successHamilton also banked a bonus point for the fastest lap of the race to stretch his lead to 73 points over team mate and closest rival Valtteri Bottas, who finished second, with five rounds remaining.
Donald Trump's spin doctors would have been proud.
In Pictures: F1 Champions
Giuseppe Farina, Italy
Juan Manuel Fangio, Argentina
Alberto Ascari, Italy
Mike Hawthorn, UK
Jack Brabham, Australia
Phil Hill, US
Graham Hill, UK
Jim Clark, UK
John Surtees, UK
Denny Hulme, New Zealand
Jackie Stewart, UK
Jochen Rindt, Austria
Emerson Fittipaldi, Brazil
Niki Lauda, Austria
James Hunt, UK
Mario Andretti, US
Jody Scheckter, South Africa
Alan Jones, Australia
Nelson Piquet, Brazil
Keke Rosberg, Finland
Alain Prost, France
Ayrton Senna, Brazil
Nigel Mansell, UK
Michael Schumacher, Germany
Damon Hill, UK
Jacques Villeneuve, Canada
Mika Häkkinen, Finland
Fernando Alonso, Spain
Kimi Räikkönen, Finland
Lewis Hamilton, UK
Jenson Button, UK
Sebastian Vettel, Germany
Nico Rosberg, Germany
Vettel, Leclerc play down talk of Ferrari rift .
Vettel, Leclerc play down talk of Ferrari riftFerrari Formula One team mates Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel played down talk of a rift between them, saying tensions that threatened to boil over at the Russian Grand Prix had cooled.
F1 news: Red Bull boss MOCKS Ferrari are fires Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes warning
RED BULL boss Helmut Marko claims his side are not looking behind them at Ferrari.
F1 News: Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel fire Max Verstappen title warning
MAX VERSTAPPEN will be a forced to be reckoned with in 2019.