Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz talk about their duel in F1 Saudi Arabian GP as Ferrari scores more points to extend advantage over McLaren.
For Ferrari, it was another consistent race in F1 Saudi Arabian GP where both of their drivers finished in the points with Leclerc in seventh ahead of teammate Sainz. It was the sixth Grand Prix this season where they have finished in tandem with each other.
It was more points scored in their battle for third in the constructors’ championship where they now have mathematical upper hand over their rivals to be the best of the rest, McLaren who dropped back after string of average results.
Despite seventh place and six points scored, Leclerc had qualified an excellent fourth after a heavy crash in FP2. He lost places when pitting during the first Safety Car and restarted the race sixth on Lap 14 and subsequently tangled with Sergio Perez.
After which he was battling with Sainz for the remainder of the race and only got past the Spaniard on lap 48 where Ferrari allowed the duo to have a duel rather than go for team orders. “Carlos was behind at first, then he overtook me while I was struggling in the first three laps of the restart with the hard tyres and then I had quite a good pace actually, and managed to overtake him two laps to the end,” said Leclerc to TV media.
“It was a good battle. We enjoyed it, I think, both of us. And yes, the pace was strong, but I can only be disappointed looking at the first part of the race we were very, very strong, so it’s a shame we couldn’t capitalise on that. We struggled massively with warm-up on the hard and I lost a lot of positions with the… restarts – and on the hard tyres it was a disaster, so I lost positions on every restart.
“And with the pace I could make up for the space lost, but not enough obviously, and the potential was much better,” summed up Leclerc who got ahead of Lando Norris in the drivers’ standings too. Sainz, meanwhile, started in 15th having crashed during qualifying.
He made up six places by the time the red flag was displayed to be in the Top 10. He then switched to mediums but could not sustain his earlier pace for the remaining laps and eventually lost out to his teammate Leclerc in the closing stages.
“I was flying in the first stint on the hard tyre,” said Sainz. “The hard tyre was behaving really well and I could make up a lot of positions at the start, in the first 13 laps. Then we were hit with a red flag that in a way benefitted me because it allowed me to keep P9, but it forced me into a medium tyre 37 laps to the end.
“And a medium tyre 37 laps to the end was just not possible. I was showing really good pace on the medium until the medium gave up five laps to the end and I had to concede the position to Charles in the last few laps. But fast, just a bit compromised by strategy,” summed up Sainz.
But all in all, it was another good consistent weekend for the Maranello concern. If Sainz had got through to Q3 and a higher grid place, it could have been much better while Leclerc lost out under the safety car and in tangle with Perez.
The story was written by Neil Farrell
Here’s Charles Leclerc on tangle with Sergio Perez