Charles Leclerc says his late-2019 crash with Sebastian Vettel gave the two Ferrari drivers a “good lesson” – and he insists it won’t happen again.
After a series of on-track disputes throughout last season – the pair’s first together at Ferrari – the battle between Leclerc and Vettel exploded at the Brazilian GP when they collided to race-ending effect.
Leclerc, F1’s emerging star, and Vettel, a four-time champion, are teammates again in 2020 and have proved that they won’t give an inch on-track – leading many to believe that more clashes are inevitable.
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But Leclerc is adamant that he and Vettel are “working well together” and there won’t be any more drama.
“We want to win, we are extremely competitive, and sometimes on track we might have some friction,” Leclerc told Autosport.
“But we are mature enough to know that on track is on track and off the track, we are different people.
“I think the most important thing is we work well together, especially off track, to improve the car as much as possible and then not to exceed the limits when we are on track like we’ve seen in Brazil.
“But I think it was a good lesson for both of us and it won’t happen again.”
Although their Interlagos crash was certainly their most dramatic, it wasn’t the only flashpoint for Leclerc and Vettel. The pair, and particularly Ferrari with their team orders, courted controversy in Australia, China, Spain, Singapore and Russia.
But Leclerc said they have been able to clear the air afterwards.
“There have been times where we didn’t really understand each other in some situations,” the Monegasque added.
“But I think it’s never really good to speak about it straight away after an incident.
“So we left some time and then after Russia, we sat down again in Japan and we understood each other and we have grown from this experience.”
Leclerc also claimed their competitiveness helps drive themselves, and Ferrari, on.
“It pushes both of us to try and push our limits,” he explained.
“Whenever he is in front of me, I don’t like it and I try even harder, and it’s the same the other way. I think it pushes both of us forwards.”
After a dazzling first season in red, Leclerc penned a new contract until 2024 with the Scuderia. But there is far less certainty about Vettel’s future, with the German’s deal coming to an end after this season.
But Leclerc appears comfortable with the prospect of teaming up with Vettel for many more years, insisting he “learned a lot” from Vettel in 2019 and that he is a “very nice person”.
This article was originally published by Sky Sports and reproduced with permission