Sainz picked wrong driver to be ‘a bit spectacular’ with – Leclerc

Charles Leclerc says Carlos Sainz was not following the strategy given by Ferrari when trying to “do something a bit spectacular” in overtaking his teammate early in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Sainz went round the outside of Leclerc into Turn 1 to take fifth place in the opening laps, squeezing the other Ferrari at the apex and causing light contact that saw the Spaniard run wide but retain the place. Leclerc says that went against the plan for looking after tires early in the race and he feels Sainz was trying to make a statement in front of his home crowd but shouldn’t have done so on his teammate.

“We had a clear strategy at the beginning of the race with the team to both save tires to attack late on,” Leclerc said. “However, Carlos on that lap didn’t do any saving in Turn 14 and of course had an opportunity to overtake in Turn 1, which is a bit of a shame because we lost time between us. I damaged my front wing because of Carlos making the turn, not seeing that I was on the inside and that makes our race more difficult. But it wouldn’t have changed the end result significantly.


“I didn’t understand the point of doing that when it was clearly stated before the race that we had to save in this part of the race. It’s a bit unnecessary, but I also understand that I guess it’s his home race, and it’s also an important moment of his career, so I guess he wanted to do something a bit spectacular, but I probably wasn’t the right person to do that with.”

The two drivers swapped positions later on as Leclerc chased George Russell to the flag — finishing 0.3s behind the Mercedes — but he was less concerned about the incident impacting his chances of finishing higher than fifth.

“When you look at how close we finished with George in front, there’s always things we can do better, but we just didn’t have enough pace to do anything better today.”

Sainz also had another incident that saw him run slightly wide at Turn 1 as Lewis Hamilton overtook him on the inside, and he was unhappy that the stewards allowed the move to stand.

“I felt like he ran me off the track,” Sainz said. “I was half a car length ahead, and normally the rule this year says that if you’re ahead around the outside, they need to give you space, if you have half a car ahead. That’s normally what the stewards have ruled this year.

“So I was trying to benefit from that rule, because that’s how they’ve ruled up until now. I’m not saying he was racing hard or not hard — just trying to apply the rule that the stewards have applied all season.”

Story originally appeared on Racer