Leclerc admits Sainz ‘did a better job all weekend’ after Ferrari one-two

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Charles Leclerc admits he doubts he would have been able to challenge team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr for victory in the Australian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari drivers finished first and second, Leclerc following his team mate, who led most of the race after Max Verstappen’s early retirement.

Leclerc had been like the quicker of the two Ferrari drivers during practice, but was beaten by Sainz in qualifying and in the race. He admitted Sainz had done a better job of looking after his tyres in the race.

Sainz’s victory is his first since the surgery which kept him out of the previous race in Saudi Arabia. “Carlos has had an incredible weekend to come back after his surgery and he’s done an amazing race,” Leclerc said.

“On my side, I struggled a bit more in the second stint with the first hards. I didn’t manage the tyres well, but then the last stint was more positive. But first and second [place] was the best we could do.”

Leclerc was chased by the McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri early on before pulling away as the race progressed. Asked if he felt he could have offered any challenge to his team mate for the win, Leclerc said “not really.”

“In the first stint we had protect from behind. So we had to stop a bit earlier and then from that moment onwards, Carlos was very fast and with my tyres, I was struggling. So I think that as soon as we stopped , then for me it was clear.

“But again, Carlos has done a better job all weekend – at least from qualifying to the race – and he definitely deserves that victory. So I’m really happy for him and I’m really happy for the team.

“It’s really good points. We came into the weekend telling ourselves that we need to maximise our points and there’s nothing we could have done better. So really happy about this.”

Sainz’s victory was Ferrari’s second in the last 12 months. Leclerc said he was happy that Ferrari have returned to the top step of the podium once again.

“It feels good,” he said. “Mostly for the team, of course.

“First and second hasn’t happened since Bahrain 2022, which are very good memories we have. It’s amazing to be able to do that.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2024 Australian Grand Prix

Browse all 2024 Australian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

11 comments on “Leclerc admits Sainz ‘did a better job all weekend’ after Ferrari one-two”

  1. Methinks Ferrari might want to reconsider their driver pairing for next year…

    1. I hope they announce “the deal’s off,” a week from now on April 1st.

      1. I hope they stick to their guns – and Sainz gets the second Red Bull seat.

        Max would beat him, but we’d see Max tested a lot more often, and there could be some fun fireworks.

        1. Yes, from what I’ve seen lately sainz should be more of a challenge, and he also wasn’t doing badly as verstappen’s team mate their first season.

  2. Ferrari has an odd pair of drivers. On the one hand, Sainz is consistently underrated and has been for years. On the other, Leclerc is faster but seems to have hit a plateau and isn’t really doing the #1 job with the required consistency.

    Bringing in Hamilton into that is a really interesting choice. If only they could field three cars…

    1. I think your observation is slowly being realised by more and more people.
      I’ve noticed with Sainz that he seems to also have a trait that Schumacher showed and that is the spare capacity whilst racing to consider the bigger picture. His allowing the car behind to have DRS to protect himself for a previous race win showed great skill and thinking. Even today, whilst not 100%, he was telling the team how he wanted his stops to go.

      1. Sainz would probably have excelled even more so in a different era for this reason alone. If you stuck him back in the 1970s before they were using radio for example, he’d probably be much better than other drivers in terms of thinking for himself and changing his driving style/strategy depending on the situation.

    2. Ferrari absolutely should field three cars.
      Mercedes, McLaren and Aston could do the same…

  3. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    24th March 2024, 10:08

    Sainz has got the fire in him and good on him. He’s surely going to have some reasonable offers for 25.

    I don’t know why he’s always been so underrated, I feel at worst he’s always held his own in teammate battles?

  4. Had Sainz stayed longer with the team it would not have been impossible for him to catch up with Leclerc in terms of number of wins at Ferrari. Where did the spectacular one lap pace go?

  5. Including Max, Leclerc is the teammate of Sainz who outqualified him most. Sainz was never an easy teammate to beat. Anyone who checks his stats against his teammates can see this.

    Sainz vs Max (23 gp)
    Grid: 10 – 13
    Race: 9 – 12

    Sainz vs Leclerc ( 63 gp)
    Grid: 23 – 46
    Race: 29 – 39

    Sainz vs Noris ( 38 gp)
    Grid: 18 – 20
    Race: 21 – 17

Comments are closed.