At a safety car restart prompted by Valtteri Bottas' retirement, Leclerc had the run on Vettel with fresher tyres, but the German fought back on the back straight, with the aid of DRS. As the German looked to shut the door on his teammate, their wheels touched, causing a dramatic failure on Leclerc's front right and leaving Vettel with a puncture.
It's not the first moment of tension between the Scuderia's stars this year, prompting concern from their native media.
La Stampa: "Ferrari disaster in Brazil. It's not the first time that Vettel and Leclerc had problems together on the track. Never, however, had it come to what you saw in Interlagos. What will the relationship between the two be now?"
La Repubblica: "If in Faenza we toast, in Maranello there are long faces. A contact - with relative destruction of the two Ferraris - between Leclerc and Vettel on the end of the race is a difficult thing to digest. There will be a long discussion but, you know, the result does not change, it's how races are. And now at Ferrari, the increasingly difficult relationship between Vettel and Leclerc needs to be managed. Nervousness, within an F1 team, always leads to disasters like those of in the Brazilian GP."
Gazzetta dello Sport: "And at a race from the end of the championship we are 249 points to 230 for Leclerc, two wins to one for him, seven pole positions to two for him. In short, the Little Prince did not remain a follower, he decided to push his way through and the results are proving him right. At stake there is more than third place in the drivers' standings, there is internal supremacy that nobody wants to give up because it is not something insignificant. Can you still be the number one if a newly arrived boy is in front of you in the standings? Can they establish that you are the number two if you beat a four-times world champion at the first shot? Both Sebastian and Charles are well aware that this championship finale is worth much more than just a placement behind the Mercedes drivers."
Corriere della Sera: "After the crash of Sao Paulo in Brazil, it became clear to everyone that the rivalry between Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel from normal competitive practice is becoming dangerous. For the drivers and for Ferrari."
Il Giornale: "The race of the two roosters in the Ferrari henhouse explodes at the penultimate race of a season, where the prize was at most internal supremacy. Imagine what could happen the day Ferrari can fight for the world championship. The damage is mild today, costs a fourth and a fifth place, but is enormous in perspective. What future does the Ferrari couple have? Can Vettel and Leclerc continue to run shoulder to shoulder with the Scuderia's greater good in mind? It will be up to Mattia Binotto, so far very good at keeping his bad boys calm after the sparks of Monza, to restore peace. Will he succeed? Today it is impossible to say."
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