Bahrain GP: Charles Leclerc Lauds Sainz for ‘Pushing Me Massively’ in Qualifying

Published 03/27/2021, 1:12 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 14, 2021 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc arrive for testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


It was an interesting end to Qualy in Bahrain, with Max Verstappen laying his dominion ahead of the two Mercedes. But the timesheet looked rather bizarre during the end of Q2 with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc leading the way on their Softs.

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And that was the moment Ferrari announced their official return to F1 as a top-field racing team after such a disappointing outing in 2020.

Congratulations to Carlos: Charles Leclerc

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Keeping Ferrari’s comeback aside for a moment, it was quite pleasing to see the two drivers pushing each other to the limits until the very end of the 60-minute session.

And Leclerc, too, managed to catch a glimpse of that battle and appreciated his teammate for giving him a tough time on the track.

My congratulations to Carlos. He pushed me massively,” Leclerc said on the team radio following the chequered flag to the final part of the qualifying session.

Although Sainz ended up in P8, he deserved to finish much higher up on the grid. But it’s not over yet. The main race is yet to kick off.

And the fact that both the Ferrari drivers will be starting on the Softs will offer them the upper hand, at least through the first few laps, while the Medium tire runners will be busy trying to fire up their tire temperatures.

We want to fight for pole: Leclerc

The Prancing Stallion are still lagging behind both the Mercedes and the Red Bull. However, Leclerc couldn’t resist applauding the team for making such a giant leap, almost catching up to the top of the midfield pack.

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Guys, this is only the first qualifying, but compared to where we were last year, it’s quite a big step forward,” he said. “So, yeah. Actually, it’s not… We want to fight for pole but I think we should be satisfied with the step we’ve done at least here.”

Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 14, 2021 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

It will be interesting to see how the Ferrari drivers look to treat their tires from the moment the lights go out. Even a tiny squabble could put them in the back seat. However, there is also the threat of the Softs wearing off much earlier, even under perfect conditions.

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Hence, will Sainz and Leclerc turn up their aggression, hoping to take the lead early on in the race? Or will they focus on saving the rubber and aim for a long first stint before switching to Mediums or Hards?

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Rohit Kumar

948 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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