Vettel’s race was spectacularly bad, but it wasn’t like he was an outlier on this occasion.
The last remnants of a chance of Vettel rescuing respectability from a weekend when Ferrari struggled evaporated when he was muscled out the way at the restart by his team-mate Charles Leclerc.
This just snowballed, for it put him in a position that meant him having to almost come to a stop for the rolling Racing Point of Lance Stroll as cars passed to his right.
Ultimately, the difference between a clean Ferrari race (such as Leclerc’s) and a compromised one such as Vettel’s was only that between 10th and 13th.
But on a day in which it would be very easy for a seasoned old hand to question what he was doing, and seeing the raw, harsh desire of Leclerc, it was difficult not to reflect on the passage of time.
Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc have cleared the air after the four-time Formula 1 champion had ranted about his Ferrari team-mate after the restart of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
On the approach to turn one at the Bahrain International Circuit, Vettel was stunned to see Leclerc squeezing through a gap on the inside while he also had McLaren’s Carlos Sainz to his outside.
Vettel had no option but to brake and allow Leclerc through to avoid a repeat of their accident at the Styrian Grand Prix when the Monégasque went for a gap that did not exist, resulting in a collision that forced both out of the race.
At the time over the team radio an annoyed Vettel said: “And again! He can’t just do that as if I wasn’t there. It’s the same as Austria, seriously! This time I, you know, I…should’ve crashed. Maybe it was the better option.”
After receiving a response of ‘Understood”, Vettel continued to fume, adding: “All morning we talk about giving room and then [he] went to the tiniest gap that doesn’t exist and you just pray the other guy just sees you and moves out of the way.”
Leclerc went on to claim a point for 10th place while Vettel finished 13th.
Leclerc confirmed he and Vettel had spoken about the incident. He said: “On my side, the only thing I can say is that surely it was extremely tight.
“But on the other hand, unlike in the Styrian Grand Prix where I didn’t put myself in a visible place, this time I tried for him to see me.
“There was a very little gap, I went for it and I made sure that he saw me. You could argue there was probably not enough gap between our cars, being in the same team.”
Vettel was keen to put the matter to rest as he said: “We don’t need to make a big deal out of it.
“It was tight. I believe if you have three cars in the first corner at times it works, but most of the time it doesn’t. We spoke about it, we move on, no big deal.”
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2021 MONTE CARLO RALLY DAY 3 – OGIER LEADER
THE NEXT RACE 2021
|02:00 - 03:30||Free practice 1|
|06:00 - 07:30||Free practice 2|
|04:00 - 05:00||Free practice 3|
|07:00 - 07:18||Qualifying|
|06:10 - 08:10||Race|