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'Make Leclerc Ferrari team leader' - Italian Media

'Make Leclerc Ferrari team leader' - Italian Media

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'Make Leclerc Ferrari team leader' - Italian Media

'Make Leclerc Ferrari team leader' - Italian Media

Italian media have called on Ferrari to make Charles Leclerc the team's lead driver, with Mercedes streaking clear in both championships after three races. Sebastian Vettel has been given "priority" for the 2019 season, which was in clear evidence at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Leclerc jumped Vettel off the line for third place, but could not hunt down the Mercedes ahead, prompting Ferrari to move him aside to let the German have a go.

Vettel made a number of mistakes when in open air and dropped further back from the Silver Arrows, who secured a third one-two finish from as many races, and into the clutches of Verstappen, who finished ahead of Leclerc in fourth.

"If there is a 30 million dollar man and a 2.5 million dollar man, then the hierarchy is already quite clear," pundit Toni Vilander told Finland's MTV.

But Corriere della Sera declared after the race: "It would be better if Ferrari finally understood that they have hired the right driver and it is Charles Leclerc.

"Maranello should take the captain's armband from Vettel and give it to Leclerc."

Are Ferrari right to use team orders at this point of the season?

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Gazzetta dello Sport said of the team orders row: "These controversies are secondary to a more important issue: In China, the Ferraris were not as fast as the Mercedes cars, which have won three races out of three. For the World Cup it is a serious alarm."

Leclerc was obviously upset and angry about the decision during the race in Shanghai, but afterwards said he would not cause a controversy with "silly" comments.

"The guys on the pitwall know the bigger picture better than I do," he told reporters.

But former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher told Sky Deutschland that Leclerc was "sacrificed" by Ferrari in China.

Leclerc responded: "I wouldn't go that far. We are a team, and today it didn't work out for me but as a team we tried to do the best job."

Team boss Mattia Binotto said: "I'm glad he talks like that because it shows maturity.

"It is clear that his race was a bit compromised, and if Charles is upset or angry, he has a right to that. But we tried to give space to Seb to see if he could keep the pace of the Mercedes.

"At that stage we absolutely had to try something."

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