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Vettel comforted Leclerc after France crash

After his retirement from Formula 1, Sebastian Vettel will leave a hole in the premier class – on and off the track. An example of this is provided by his former teammate at Ferrari, Charles Leclerc, on Thursday before the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest.

The Monegasque threw away a possible victory in the last race in Le Castellet with a crash. Vettel was there for his former stable mate after the zero number at the French Grand Prix. “He’s a friend and always texts me, just like after last Sunday,” Leclerc now reveals.

“And he always tries to cheer me up when I’m having a difficult time. It’s nice to see how much I’ve developed since I met him.” In general, Leclerc does not have the best memories of Vettel on, but off the track, he explained when asked by “Autosport”.

“It’s all the moments at the factory and the way our relationship has evolved over the years. Because I came in the first year [bei Ferrari] and was super impressed. And I think I was probably weird with him because I was just shy and didn’t know what to say when I was with him.”

Leclerc: Best Vettel memories off the track

The relationship between Vettel and Leclerc in the two Ferrari years together seemed to be strained, at least on the track. In the late summer and autumn of 2019 in particular, there were always controversial scenes, including in qualifying at Monza and in the races in Singapore and Interlagos.

On the latter occasion, there was even a quarrel between the two Ferrari drivers at the time, which prompted Vettel to rant on the radio. However, this had no long-term impact on the good relationship between the four-time world champion and Leclerc.

Has Leclerc now, also thanks to Vettel’s SMS, overcome the zero from Le Castellet? “Well, I have to,” he replies. “There is nothing that would help me if I reflect on my mistake or continue to live in the past as far as this mistake is concerned.”

Ferrari doesn’t have enough torque in first gear

“I made that mistake and it cost me a lot of points. I’m aware of that. And that’s it. Now I just have to keep going, focus 100 per cent on this weekend, try to do the best I can, try Win this race and then I’m sure it will go well.”

Leclerc emphasizes again that the accident was not preceded by a technical defect. Instead, he takes the blame entirely on himself – despite a radio message immediately after take-off that suggested a problem with the accelerator pedal as the cause. However, he was apparently referring to difficulties in freeing himself with the help of reverse gear.

Regarding theories that arose in connection with his accident, Ferrari driver Leclerc says: “I understood that there were doubts, but it’s just that the torque is limited in first gear, so I only have that [am Boxenfunk] talked about, not about anything else. So there was nothing on the car.”

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