Carlos Sainz Admits to Difficulties in Beating Charles Leclerc at Ferrari – “You’ve All Seen How Fast He is”

Published 05/05/2021, 4:52 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. after the race Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron


Before joining Ferrari this season, Carlos Sainz had already had two blazing young guns of F1, Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, as his teammates. However, they were still rookies, raw, error-prone talents when Sainz faced their challenge. So, at Ferrari, he is going up against a different beast in Charles Leclerc.

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The Monegasque outscored four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, by three times last season. His one-lap pace, especially, is quite staggering, even if Sainz beat him on Saturday at the Portuguese GP.

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

“Just because I beat Charles on Saturday in Portimão doesn’t mean I’ll do it in every qualifying from now on. I think I’m still a step behind where I want to be, but that qualifying was a good sign, it’s the result of the hard work we’re doing. No doubt we must continue in this way,” said Sainz. (Quotes translated from Italian using Google)

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But Leclerc hit back on Sunday as he finished ahead of the Spaniard yet again, making it three in a row this season. So, Sainz recognizes how tough the going can get by being Leclerc’s teammate.

“I don’t need to say anything, you’ve all seen how fast he is. It will be very difficult to get ahead of Leclerc in any race and on any track.”

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The former McLaren driver finished the race out of points in 11th place. However, not all of it was his fault. The think-tank at Ferrari put him on medium compound tires when hard tires were producing the best results on the track. Not to forget that they had to issue team orders that asked Sainz to give his position to Leclerc.

“Honestly the race pace all weekend was looking good. I don’t think the race pace was the issue, it was just that we got it wrong with the strategy of pushing on the tyres and we didn’t get things right today,” admitted Sainz after the race.

Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 2, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during the race REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

Hopefully, he can have a better turnout in Barcelona, especially considering that it is his home race.

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Bharat Aggarwal

753 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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