Vettel and Leclerc say Styria crash 'behind them' as they focus on assessing Ferrari upgrades in Hungary
Ferrari team mates Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel committed the cardinal sin of colliding on Lap 1 of the Styrian Grand Prix, with the damage taking both cars out of contention. But Leclerc and Vettel have insisted they’ve moved on from the incident, as the pair vowed to keep working to improve Ferrari’s struggling 2020 package.
Leclerc immediately accepted blame for the crash, after he out-braked himself going into Turn 3 and was launched off the kerbs into Vettel, destroying the German’s rear-wing and causing race-ending damage to himself.
But the Monegasque said ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix that the two drivers had drawn a line under the crash.
“We've put it behind us yes,” said Leclerc at the Hungaroring. “I directly went to talk to Seb after the race to excuse myself. I think he accepted that, now it's behind us and on my side, I will focus on this weekend, trying to achieve the best result possible.”
“These things are the worst that can happen,” added Vettel of the second time the two drivers have collided in the past four races, the previous being at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. “Obviously if two cars of the same colour come together, it's something we always try to avoid. But we're racing and this stuff unfortunately is a part of it. We spoke about it, it's behind us and a couple of days later, we have a chance to do better in Hungary.”
Worse than the simple loss of points for Ferrari in the Styrian Grand Prix was the loss of track time to try and understand the upgrades that the team fast-tracked onto the cars for the race. And it was something Vettel was looking to put right at the Hungarian Grand Prix, as Ferrari look to evaluate whether the new parts are a “gamechanger” for the SF1000's performance.
“[Last] Sunday would have helped us to understand better,” said Vettel, “also [being] at the same track to see the pace one weekend and then the next weekend. [But we’ll] get the final confirmation this week.
“We know that the parts have worked and we would have liked them to obviously be a gamechanger. It doesn't look at this stage like that, but then again we're yet to confirm them in real race conditions so I think it will be interesting, and we're excited about seeing where the car will be [on Friday] and then especially in the race.”
The two drivers, meanwhile, had differing opinions on how they expected the weekend at the Hungaroring to pan out, with Leclerc telling the media: “I don't think you can consider us fighting for podiums at the moment… I'm expecting that it will be a similar picture to the previous weekends” – while two-time Hungarian GP winner Vettel struck a more positive tone, saying: “I'm always optimistic. I like this track.
“You can make the difference on this track. We did improve our car, we know it has more downforce than the previous one. It's obviously not perfect and not great yet in terms of fighting for top positions… but I think and I hope that this weekend is a bit better for us.”