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Sainz 'Very clearly' Leclerc's defense 'helped neither of us'

Sainz: ‘Very clearly’ Leclerc’s defense ‘helped neither of us’

22/04/2024

Amid ongoing tension, Ferrari’s Sainz and Leclerc’s rivalry impacts their race strategy and performance at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz stated that it was obvious both Ferraris lost time and positions at the start of the race.

The two Ferrari drivers battled in the initial corners of the Chinese Grand Prix, with Leclerc ensuring that Sainz could not overtake him.

With some tension between the two Ferrari drivers after Saturday’s Sprint race, due to Sainz’s vigorous defense against Leclerc in the hairpin before the Monegasque driver took the lead, Leclerc appeared to seek revenge at the start of Sunday’s race.

Negotiating the first corner, Leclerc pushed Sainz wide to ensure the Spaniard could not overtake him, but in doing so, lost a position.

Leclerc considered it a typical first-lap incident.

“I mean, at the start, it’s always very tricky with the tires. That’s just how it is,” explained Leclerc, when asked about the incident.

For Sainz, it seemed intentional…

“I’d rather not comment, but it’s obviously very clear that it cost us both positions. So yes, it didn’t help any of us.”

Ferrari team boss, Fred Vasseur, dismissed the idea that this unnecessary skirmish at turn 1 cost them better positions at the end of the race.

“Losing a position at the start doesn’t help. But in the end, we were behind Perez and Norris at the start, and we also finished behind them at the end of the race. I think if we lost anything, it was during the last stint.”

“Carlos was unlucky with the timing of the pit stop because he did three or four laps before the VSC and then the safety car, and he was a bit worried about doing a very long stint on the last set of hard tires.”

“He was a bit conservative at the start but managed a long stint like this very well. If we missed anything, it was starting too far back on the grid, and that was more Saturday than Sunday. We were a bit less effective on the hard tires than on the mediums – the mediums were under control and I think we were in a good position at the end of the medium stint. But we lost some ground with the hard.”

Regarding how Vasseur managed the tension between the drivers after Saturday’s Sprint race—a tension that both drivers then tried to defuse in front of the media—he explained that he did not get involved.

“I didn’t speak to them. They explained themselves and Carlos apologized.”

“For the start of the race, the track was quite wide at turns 1 and 2 and there was no contact. We lost one or two positions, so it wasn’t the best thing, but I’ll discuss it with them afterward.”

Ferrari Tension Peaks: Sainz and Leclerc Clash in China. Ferrari Tension Peaks: Sainz and Leclerc Clash in China

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