Ferrari drivers enjoyed podium fight despite its anxious moments for the team

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc both backed the decision from Ferrari to allow them to fight each other for the podium until the end of the Italian Grand Prix, even if it made for nervous viewing for the team and its fans.

Ferrari told the pair they were free to race for the final spot on the podium at Monza, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez having made their way past polesitter Sainz by that stage. In the closing laps, the two Ferraris went wheel-to-wheel on multiple occasions, each locking up and coming close to contact but Sainz held on and says he didn’t mind the call despite the threat to his position.

“I would have understood it both ways,” Sainz said. “If they had used team orders I would have understood. If I was Charles trying to get a podium I wouldn’t have liked the team orders, so it completely depends on the position you are in.

“I am not going to lie — it very much depends on a very subjective position or feeling. I think it was on the limit, but it was a nice, fair teammate battle, which at the end of the day is also what you guys (media) want to see. I had fun doing it.

“I never felt too much of a risk. With a teammate you are always a bit more tense — (you leave) a bit more space, because it’s the last thing you want in Monza, in front of the Tifosi, the two Ferraris to touch. But I think we had a tough battle; we managed to keep it clean and it was good fun.


“I had fun with Charles, but I also had fun with Max and Checo. I would prefer to be the one attacking than the one defending, but today it was my turn to defend and I think I did that well.”

Although he finished fourth and missed out on a home podium, Leclerc was similarly supportive of having been allowed to challenge right up to the final lap.

“To be honest, I feel good,” Leclerc said. “OK, I missed the podium, but Carlos is on it anyway, so a Ferrari is on there. I would have been disappointed if it was a boring race and we just finished fourth like we did now, but in the end, it was really fun. I enjoyed it a lot.

“I’m sure many people did not enjoy that — the guys on the pit wall perhaps had one heart attack or two, the Tifosi probably also — but for me, this is Formula 1, this is what it should be all the time.

“With Max, I’ve had these kinds of fights in the past, today was with Checo and Carlos. We, I think, were always at the limit of the regulations, whether it was defending or attacking and that’s exactly how I enjoy racing. So it was fun. Congrats to Carlos — he’s been really on it since the first lap in FP1, but I’m happy today.”

Story originally appeared on Racer