SOCHI, Russia (AFP) – Ferrari team chief Mattia Binotto admitted his team have to be more precise with their pre-race instructions to their drivers following a radio feud over team orders in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc started from pole position and gave Sebastian Vettel a slip-steam that saw the German take the lead – and then refuse to give it back to the Monegasque.
When the four-time champion pulled up and retired with an engine failure on lap 28, causing deployment of a Safety Car intervention, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton grabbed the lead and went on to score the 82nd victory of his career.
“We had asked Charles to grant Seb the slip-stream because it was the best scenario to be first and second at the first corner,” said Binotto.
“But maybe we have to be more precise before the races. We will talk to them to review what happened at the start.”
Leclerc complained vigorously on the team radio as Vettel pulled clear and made it virtually impossible for them to swap positions as they sought to take advantage of running on soft tyres while Mercedes were on mediums in the opening laps.
“After today we will be even more aggressive,” added Binotto. This third place hurts us also because is the result of our mistakes.”
Leclerc finished third behind Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
However, Leclerc pointed out that he had repeated this on team radio, even when he prompted the team to manage the situation more clearly.
“I think the trust doesn’t change and I think we need to trust each other,” said Leclerc.