By Abhishek Takle
ABUDHABI (Reuters) – Charles Leclerc said on Thursday he and Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel remained free to race each other after clearing the air following their Brazilian Grand Prix collision.
The two Ferraris touched wheels as Vettel tried to pass Leclerc for the final podium spot in the closing stages of the race at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos track two weeks ago.
The contact, which put both the Italian team’s cars out of the race, had no consequence in terms of the constructors’ standings with Ferrari already assured of second.
It marked, however, the latest flashpoint in an increasingly tense relationship between 22-year-old Monegasque Leclerc, in his first season with Ferrari and second in Formula One, and his four-times champion team mate.
“We looked at it, and I personally looked at it to try and understand how we could have made things better,” Leclerc, who has won two races to Vettel’s one this year, told reporters at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“I was there (in Maranello) for the simulator. We also took the day to discuss a little bit and I’m pretty sure it won’t happen again.”
The collision happened as the pair raced side by side and Vettel, more or less clear of Leclerc, appeared to move over on the Monegasque who stood his ground.
Leclerc said the responsibility for the incident lay with both drivers, and added that no rules of engagement had been imposed or any sanctions threatened by the team.
He and Vettel had, however, agreed to give each other a wider berth when racing each other.
“Apart from that I don’t think there is much we can do,” said Leclerc.
“I think probably Seb shouldn’t have gone to the left and he knows it, I probably could have done a better job of avoiding him going to the left.
“The most important (thing) is that everything is clear with Seb now and we move forward.”
Vettel did not attend the official FIA news conference, having delayed his arrival in Abu Dhabi due to the birth of his third child.
(Editing by Alan Baldwin and Ed Osmond)