Leclerc Reveals Why He Accepted Ferrari F1 Team Orders at Austrian GP With Sainz

Published 07/04/2021, 12:37 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc arrives at the circuit ahead of practice REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

The Austrian Grand Prix ended up being a rollercoaster ride for Ferrari F1 driver, Charles Leclerc. Despite being in contention for a P5 finish through most of the race, the final few laps pushed the Monegasque down the order to P8, denting his hopes of accomplishing it.


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Ferrari, too, played a role in Leclerc’s drop in positions, which took place just laps away from the checkered flag; the Maranello outfit ordered Leclerc to let his teammate, Carlos Sainz, past.

Of course, it was a shame that team orders shattered Leclerc’s hopes of securing yet another top-class finish at the Red Bull Ring. But Ferrari, on the whole, will be quite pleased to enforce such an order on the two-time 2021 pole-sitter.


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Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 4, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during the race REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

The swap unleashed Sainz, with much fresher tires, up on Ricciardo, who had been defending his heart out against Leclerc until that point. Eventually, Sainz made a rather simple move on the Australian on the very lap of the race to secure a strong P5 finish for Ferrari.

Hence, Leclerc wasn’t necessarily disappointed with Ferrari’s decision, considering how the outcome turned out.


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What did the Ferrari driver say?

During the post-race interview, Leclerc opined that Ferrari’s decision was quite obvious, as it did not catch him by surprise.

Yeah, it felt like there was probably an opportunity to get past at one point because I was close every lap. But, they asked me to obviously swap the cars because he had the tire advantage over the reverse strategy. So, I did,” Leclerc said.

Before the driver-swap, Leclerc was in P7, with Sainz right behind him, in P8. Hence, it looked like 10 points were all they could churn out of the race. However, the swap meant that Sainz jumped up to P6 on the track.


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What’s more, the Spaniard gained an extra position on Sergio Perez, who was bearing a 10-second time penalty.

Ultimately, the Maranello outfit managed to gain 14 points out of the weekend, which is definitely a damage limitation for the team, considering their rivals, McLaren, cherished an incredible race to garner 21 points.

Hence, with the gap between McLaren and Ferrari constantly extending over each passing weekend, can the Reds look to pull back the difference with the Papayas over the upcoming race weekend at Silverstone?


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Rohit Kumar

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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.