Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2024

Sainz risked too much ‘trying to do something spectacular at home’ – Leclerc

Formula 1

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Charles Leclerc suspects his team mate didn’t follow Ferrari’s instructions when the pair fought for position at the start of the race.

Carlos Sainz Jnr passed Leclerc at turn one on the third lap, running off the track as he did. But Leclerc believes his team mate ignored a pre-race instruction to both drivers to preserve their tyres through the fast final corner at the Circuit de Catalunya.

“The team had told us before the race to save the tyres at this moment of the race,” Leclerc told the official F1 channel. “So I was doing exactly that.

“In the last corner, it’s a really good corner to save and we knew that we had to save but I think Carlos used that one lap pushing a lot in turn 14 and then was very close to me and overtook, which was fine.

“But then he obviously, I think, did the corner like if I was not there. So it’s a bit of a shame. We will speak [about] that internally.”

The stewards decided not to investigate the incident between the pair. Leclerc believes Sainz, who does not have a contract for next season, was trying to impress at his home race.

“It’s not a big deal, I understand it’s his home race and a very important moment of his career,” said Leclerc. “So I guess he wanted to do something spectacular, but I probably wasn’t the right person to do that with.”

Leclerc closed on George Russell over the final laps of the race but ran out of time to attack the Mercedes driver for fourth place.

“Unfortunately we came just one lap short of P4 which was a bit of a shame, but that’s the best we could do today,” he said. “I think the strategy we did well to offset ourselves a bit with the people around. A shame we lost a bit of time between the cars at the beginning, but it’s like this.”

“I was managing the tyres well in the first stint – that’s what it was for, to try and go longer after that – and, I did that perfectly,” he added. “So there wasn’t much more we could have done on that.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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4 comments on “Sainz risked too much ‘trying to do something spectacular at home’ – Leclerc”

  1. Charles should expect these kind of moves from Carlos going forward. He’s racing for himself this year, not the team.

    1. If Carlos wants a decent seat in F1 next year (which should have been Carlos’ aim in all this), he’s going to have to cut these kind of moves out completely. All the other F1 teams expect:

      – Obedience to team orders when they are devised with the driver’s individual best interests in mind (which these were)
      – Ability to manage tyres (and ability to signal a willingness to do it, while this move telegraphed the opposite and potentially informed other teams they could discount him from their end-of-race calculations)
      – Sensible interpretation of information to enable altering one’s approach
      – The ability to not hit people when overtaking despite having lots of room (Carlos crashed twice but this was the more blatant crash)
      – A recognition that team-mates in particular should not be hit

      If Carlos doesn’t want a decent seat in F1, he doesn’t need to hit his team-mate against necessary tyre management instructions because cruise-and-collect will do. If he does want a decent seat in F1, he outright can’t hit his team-mate against necessary tyre management instructions because every team will a seat will mark him down for that (and would almost certainly have marked him down even if he’d made the move cleanly due to the price he paid later in the race).

      The move Carlos did against Charles on lap 3 was not, and was never going to be, in his self-interest.

  2. I think LeClerc will be doing a lot more complaining next year. HAM will take advantage of LEC’s fragile mentality and sense of entitlement and in short order be leading the team. Maybe it’s because of being born into “royalty” – he never had to struggle as ALO and HAM did.
    LEC’s statement that ALO should retire and give a youngster a seat proves his ignorance. Why should a driver who is still better than most (including himself) step down? To make it easier on himself no doubt. And I assume he means HAM should quit as he is no spring chicken. I’m sure HAM knows it and stored it in his memory bank.

    1. Most of the statements you made there were wrong.

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