Leclerc's Ferrari F1 team orders remind Hamilton of his 2007 season

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton understands Charles Leclerc's frustration with team orders at Ferrari, because feeling he had his "light dimmed" at McLaren in 2007 pushed him to "rebel"

Leclerc's Ferrari F1 team orders remind Hamilton of his 2007 season

When Hamilton partnered two-time world champion Fernando Alonso in his rookie F1 season, his competitiveness sparked major conflict at McLaren and caused Alonso to leave the team after only one year.

The frustration was kickstarted by a team order that denied Hamilton the chance to win the Monaco Grand Prix at the first attempt.

Leclerc is in his first season racing for Ferrari and has been subjected to team orders in all three races so far this year, including one to let team-mate Sebastian Vettel by in the last race in China.

Ahead of this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Hamilton said being in a supporting role in an F1 team is a "privileged position" but "goes against your core value".

"I understand how Charles feels because in his heart he's the best, attempting to be the best, and it's almost like having your light dimmed," said Hamilton.

"As a racer, as a fierce competitor, you kind of rebel. They say to do one thing, but they are fighting you, so it pushes you the other way.

"I have experienced that."

Hamilton said McLaren's policy to give he and Alonso equal fuel loads after Monaco "justified the rebellious side I had" because it resulted in his first F1 win at the next race.

"From then on I just felt like I had more of a real chance to show my ability each weekend," he added.

Leclerc should have won in Bahrain earlier this year but finished third because of an electrical problem, while in Australia and China he was fifth because of orders that favoured Vettel.

Asked in Baku if he was impatient to get his first win, Leclerc said: "It's not an obsession.

"I'm impatient for this moment to happen - if it will ever happen. I'll work for that. But I'm not obsessed with it.

"I don't think it would be a good way to approach the weekends, only thinking about the winning."

Leclerc believes the "potential" exists for him to beat Vettel over the course of the 2019 season.

He said he will yield to further team orders in certain situations, having sought clarity from team boss Mattia Binotto and accepted Ferrari's position.

When Hamilton's comments were put to him, Leclerc said: "It's frustrating while you are in the car when you are told to let another driver past.

"On the other hand, on my side, I understand them in a way.

"Seb is now in his fifth year in the team and has won four world championships. I am coming in my second season of Formula 1.

"I've got a lot of things to prove.

"I think I just need to continue doing what I'm doing, trying to improve myself and hopefully it will change soon."

shares
comments
Vettel hopes upgraded Ferrari gives Mercedes "very, very hard time"

Previous article

Vettel hopes upgraded Ferrari gives Mercedes "very, very hard time"

Next article

Lewis Hamilton says 2019 Mercedes Formula 1 car harder to work with

Lewis Hamilton says 2019 Mercedes Formula 1 car harder to work with
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Charles Leclerc
Teams Ferrari
Author Scott Mitchell
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021