Charles Leclerc frustrated by Ferrari strategy after lost Singapore GP win
Leclerc left "frustrated" by Ferrari's earlier stop for Vettel in strategy call which turned outcome of race; But call secured team's Singapore GP 1-2
By James Galloway in Singapore
Last Updated: 22/09/19 4:52pm
An unimpressed Charles Leclerc questioned Ferrari's 'unfair' strategy as he lost out to team-mate Sebastian Vettel in a tense and topsy-turvy Singapore GP.
Vettel had run third behind Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton in the race's go-slow opening stages as the leaders conserved tyres - but the order flipped on its head to controversial effect when Ferrari pitted their second car first.
Such was the power of the undercut, and Vettel's pace on new tyres, that the German was able to jump the sister Ferrari when Leclerc pitted from the lead a lap later.
Once the realisation of a likely lost win had dawned on him, Leclerc calmly but pointedly made clear his annoyance during several rounds of conversation over Ferrari team radio.
"I won't do anything stupid, I want us to finish one-two," said Leclerc during a second Safety Car phase.
"I just don't think it's fair."
After ultimately finishing 2.6s behind Vettel at the end of the race, in Ferrari's first one-two of the season and third win in succession, the pair exchanged a handshake in parc ferme but there was then little in the way of small talk in the cool-down room before the podium.
But Leclerc kept his counsel on Ferrari's strategy in interviews after the race and did not criticise the team.
However, he made clear he had not been told of Vettel's stop.
"I was surprised because I was not aware in the car, but I guess that if this decision has been made it was for the good of the team and it had been the only way for us to do one-two," said the 21-year-old.
"So if that's the case I completely understand it but obviously from the car, it's frustrating. So not completely happy today, but the overall result of the weekend is very positive."
Speaking to Sky F1, Leclerc added: "I don't know if I could have stopped earlier, I'm pretty sure it was not possible because otherwise, they would have done that because you normally don't undercut one car with the other in the same team. I'm pretty sure this was the case but I need to know the situation."
The Monegasque, who had been chasing a third successive victory, said he was keen to look over exactly how the pit-stop phase had played out.
"I don't think I could have done many things better or differently, the only thing is I would ask a bit more about the strategy around me and who is pitting and who is not because I was not aware," said Leclerc. "So I didn't know if I should have pushed a bit earlier in my first stint. I don't know... we have plenty of data so I will analyse it."
Leclerc added: "We didn't speak about that plan, so I think this will be one of the discussions to understand why we didn't speak about that situation before. But it's impossible to go through all the possibilities in the race."