Vettel irked by "poor journalism" over Ferrari team orders

Sebastian Vettel believes his Ferrari Formula 1 team has been a victim of “poor journalism” and is unhappy with how comments about team orders have been used by the media.

Vettel irked by "poor journalism" over Ferrari team orders

Under new team principal Mattia Binotto, Ferrari has attempted to set a clear policy on team orders after suffering from indecision in recent seasons.

Binotto has identified Vettel as the priority in “50/50” situations because the four-time world champion is considered a better title bet compared to his young, new teammate Charles Leclerc.

Asked in China if team orders was the best way to win the title, Vettel said: “I don’t know, ask maybe Lewis [Hamilton]. Mercedes has been in a very different situation.

“It’s not the first time we’ve seen something like that. As Mattia said we tried to do everything as a team.

“Two weeks ago [in Bahrain], Charles was faster. And it was quite straightforward and maybe a bit easier to pass.

“I think the upsetting thing after the race [Chinese GP] is we didn’t manage to finish third and fourth.

“I want to be ahead of Charles, he wants to be ahead of me. Not keen to expand much further because it’s always a bit difficult, especially what you make out of the answer.”

Ferrari and its drivers have faced repeated questioning through the first three races about its use of team orders, despite its position remaining largely consistent.

Asked if there was a specific story in mind, Vettel said: “Not really, it’s just poor journalism, from my point of view.

“But I’m not a journalist to judge. So you shouldn’t take my judgement personally.”

In China, Leclerc was asked to move aside after starting to struggle with his tyres and Ferrari wanted to see if Vettel could keep pace with the Mercedes.

When asked if he had requested the order, or if it was fair, Vettel said: “I knew the moment it was happening that I would have to face these questions.

“Not sure I want to answer because I’m a little bit against the way you – all of you – work, because you take bits out of answers here and there and put it into the wrong light.

“So, if you ask me again in half an hour down in the paddock, maybe I give you a straightforward answer and you don’t write it down or record.

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“Seems the way that, not maybe all of you, but some of you are working.

“I felt I was faster in the car, I was asked if I can go faster. I answered that I felt I can.”

Vettel said the conversation about a number one or number two driver was not “frustrating, it’s just a pain to answer the same questions over and over”.

He added: “The priority always lies within the team. This kind of stuff is never pleasant but it’s a bit ‘what goes around, comes around’.

“At the time you always try to do what is right. I can see it is not easy for anyone involved.”

Additional reporting by Roberto Chinchero

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90, leads Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF90

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90, leads Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF90

Photo by: Joe Portlock / LAT Images

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