Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

“Extremely competitive” Sainz helping to drive Ferrari forward – Leclerc

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc says his partnership with Carlos Sainz Jnr at Ferrari has been key to the team recovering the pace they struggled for last year.

Ferrari had their worst finish in the constructors’ championship last year for decades, finishing sixth with 131 points to Mercedes’ winning 573. Leclerc scored 98 of those.

The team has begun 2021 more promisingly. Having seen both cars finish outside the points at Spa and Abu Dhabi last year, its two drivers have scored in every round so far this season, with the exception of Sainz’s slide to 11th in Portugal last weekend.

Leclerc said the competition and co-operation between himself and Sainz is helping to drive Ferrari forwards.

“It’s looking good,” he said. “We are working very well as a team. We are pushing each other. Carlos is extremely competitive and very quick all the time, so we are pushing each other.”

Sainz joined Ferrari this year following several years with midfield teams. After a long stint at Toro Rosso he moved to Renault and then a recovering McLaren, scoring the team’s first podium for five years at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix.

His arrival has helped the whole team move forwards, said Sainz. “We are learning a lot from one another and I think this is very positive for the whole team.

“We are also asking the same thing to the engineers to have just a better car, which is also very constructive for the whole team. So we are in a good place at the moment and we need to keep working on that.”

Leclerc will start today’s race from fourth on the grid, which is his third second-row start so far this season. He was relieved to reach Q3 again after encountering traffic at the start of the session.

“In Q1 I had some traffic in turn one, two and three, and I lost quite a bit of lap time and then we had to go again just to be, to be sure. We did well because I don’t think we will have gone through with my first timed lap.”

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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3 comments on ““Extremely competitive” Sainz helping to drive Ferrari forward – Leclerc”

  1. Now I understand how good Sainz is. He is quick everywhere. He would have been a good Bottas NewGen.

  2. Well, seems that Sainz is exactly doing what they needed of him to do.

  3. Off all the driver who changed teams he has been by far the best. Perez, Ricciardo, Vettel and Alonso all look out of shape, Sainz was quick from day one.

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