Charles Leclerc said Red Bull’s use of team orders in the Spanish Grand Prix was a clear statement of intent about their priorities in the championship.Sergio Perez arrived at the sixth round of the 22-race season just 19 points behind Max Verstappen. However Red Bull’s approach to the race raised questions over whether the two drivers are being given equal status in their championship effort.
Perez was told to let his team mate past on two occasions during the course of Sunday’s race. After the race Perez pointed out the team had told him they would pay him back for allowing Verstappen through.
However when Perez caught his team mate again later in the race he spent five laps losing time behind Verstappen while asking the Red Bull pit wall why they wouldn’t let him past. Following that, Perez had to let Verstappen by again later in the race.
Verstappen went on to win the race and take the lead of the championship from Leclerc. The Ferrari driver said “Red Bull made it clear what are their intentions and they did it very early in the season,” with their tactics in Spain.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has previously said neither of their drivers are regarded as the ‘number one’. Leclerc does not expect his team to use the same kind of team orders as Red Bull at this stage in the championship.
“I haven’t spoken about it with Mattia and I haven’t heard about anything of this for now,” he said.
Sainz has had a difficult start to his second season at Ferrari as he tries to get to grips with their 2022 car. He is 39 points behind his team mate in the championship. “I think with Carlos it’s just a matter of time before he gets with us and that he gets more at ease with the car,” said Leclerc.
However Leclerc added “I don’t want to rely on that [assistance from his team mate] either.
“I just want to do the job in the car and if we are strong enough, we have already shown that we can win races anyway. If we do a strong enough job then I’m pretty sure that the chances are there anyway.”
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