Ross Brawn warns that Ferrari has a potentially ‘explosive combination’ of drivers after the latest controversy at the Russian GP in which the Italian team was again struggling to control its drivers.

Ferrari took first and third starting places in Russia, and to fend off Hamilton on the long run until the first braking point at the start of the race, Ferrari agreed on a tactic between its drivers that Leclerc would give Vettel a tow and let him by at the start and that Vettel will give him the position back.

As Hamilton Vettel passed right at the start, he found himself behind Leclerc, in his tow, so that his young team mate had no choice but to give him the tow in which Vettel found himself on his way to Turn 2.

When the team asked Vettel to change positions, the German refused to obey and demanded that Leclerc needs to close on him and after a few more messages, Binotto gave up and announced a ‘plan C’ – switching positions during the pitstops.

It was the second race in a row that Leclerc was unhappy with losing his position from Vettel and that there was a public debate between drivers and teams over the radio, with former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn thinking the situation could become ‘explosive’.

“Mattia will have work to do in the next few days to pour oil on what seem like turbulent waters,” said Brawn.

“On the one hand they have a four-time world champion who is still one of the finest drivers on the grid, despite a few too many mistakes over the past two seasons, and on the other, they have an incredible talent in Charles Leclerc, after all you don’t take six poles, including four in a row, and win two races at legendary circuits such as Spa and Monza if you’re not a star in the making.”

“It’s a potentially explosive combination and needs careful handling.”

“Of course, Mattia is well aware of how this kind of dynamic can work as he has experienced it before when he was a young engineer,” he added. “But now the honour and obligation falls to him to make sure that mechanism that drives what can be healthy rivalry runs smoothly.”

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Russian GP F1 2019 post qualifying Photo Ferrari

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER 16/21 RACES

1 Lewis Hamilton 322 18 25 25 18 26 25 25 25 10 26 2 25 18 16 12 26
2 Valtteri Bottas 249 26 18 18 25 18 15 13 18 15 18 4 15 18 10 18
3 Charles Leclerc 215 10 16 10 11 10 15 15 18 15 12 25 25 18 15
4 Max Verstappen 212 15 12 12 12 15 12 10 12 26 10 26 19 4 15 12
5 Sebastian Vettel 194 12 10 15 15 12 18 18 11 12 18 15 13 25
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