‘Carlos Sainz deserves more recognition and more respect from Ferrari’

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz looks into the distance as Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc lurks in the background at the Austrian Grand Prix. Styria, July 2023.

Carlos Sainz looks into the distance as Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc lurks in the background at the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz deserves “more recognition and more respect” from Ferrari given he’s beating their “pretty boy” Charles Leclerc in this year’s championship.

That’s the opinion of Lucas Ordoñez, the first person to win the Gran Turismo organised GT Academy back in 2009 before going onto race in the World Endurance Championship.

Teaming up at Ferrari in 2021, Sainz has billed from the get-go by pundits as Leclerc’s number two driver, the one to support the Monégasque driver in his bid to become Ferrari’s first World Champion since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.

‘Carlos Sainz is beating prodigy Charles Leclerc’

Neither of those, though, have played out with Ferrari yet to even come close to mounting a title challenge while Sainz is once again ahead of Leclerc in the Drivers’ Championship – that’s two out of three seasons.

It has Ordoñez declaring the Spaniard deserves more respect from Ferrari.

“Until Sainz arrived, Leclerc had won everything. Since he started in karts, he has swept GP3 and Formula 2,” the 38-year-old told Marca.

“He was the pretty boy, a prodigy, and we forget very quickly that this year, like in 2021, Sainz is ahead of Leclerc in the World Championship.

“The pressure from Maranello is very great. Carlos Sainz deserves recognition and more respect from the team.”

Having turned his Gran Turismo success into a career in endurance racing and having won the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ordoñez is happy to see two Spaniards racing in Formula 1 with Fernando Alonso emerging as one of the stars of this year’s championship.

With six podiums in 10 races, the Aston Martin driver sits third in the Drivers’ standings where he’s just 19 points behind the Red Bull of Sergio Perez. Sainz is P5 and has so far failed to score a podium this season.

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Ordoñez says Spain wants more from its drivers.

“We have two Spanish drivers in Q3 at each grand prix and we are not happy. We are very demanding, but it happens in all sports. If Rafa Nadal doesn’t win two tournaments, the world falls,” he said.

“You have to be aware of what Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz achieve each race. Fernando must have had a really hard time in the years that he did not have a competitive car and he has shown what a great driver he is.

“He is a leader, an extraordinary driver which also motivates the whole team and after disconnecting from F1 winning at Le Mans or Daytona , he has returned to be with the best.”

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