Abu Dhabi: With his on-track friction with teammate Sebastian Vettel now ironed out, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is confident of at least a podium finish for his team when the curtains fall on the 2019 F1 season in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
A four-time Formula 1 world champion, Vettel will finish the year in fifth position in the drivers’ standings, while his teammate can have an outside chance of ending in third overall, provided he can overtake Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen this Sunday. The title and the second spot have already been wrapped up by the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas leaving the Yas Marina Circuit as the battleground to decide on who is the third best driver this season.
“I know recovering from 11 points can be a tough ask. It will be hard to catch up, but it will also be a good thing for the Ferrari team to end the season with a podium finish,” Vettel told media at the pre-race press conference, on Thursday.
“If we can get a good strong race this weekend, then we can hope for a good start to the next season and then continue with a right sort of progression for the season ahead.”
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has gone on record to say that the differences between Leclerc and Vettel have been ironed out following a meeting last week. The collision between the two put both of them out of contention at the Brazilian Grand Prix earlier this month. “Obviously, the meeting was to watch the video of the collision and decide how we could have made things better simply because we are from the same team. We discussed and decided that we need to be less aggressive as such incidents are not good for anyone, neither for the team nor for our fans and followers,” Leclerc said.
“It was such a small touch between our cars, but it became such a huge issue between two teammates. Everyone can be pretty sure that such incidents will never happen again in the future.”
Binotto has insisted that the relationship between the two teammates remains good despite a series of conflicts between them throughout the season, particularly at Monza, Singapore, Sochi and Interlagos. “The most important thing is that things have been cleared between the two of us,” Leclerc said.
“The idea is to be less aggressive. Both of us have responsibilities and we have been able to see through this incident so that such things don’t occur in the future. You can be sure of that.”