Sainz quick to downplay Ferrari tension suggestions

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc leads Carlos Sainz on the opening lap. Brazil November 2021

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc gets the jump on his team-mate Carlos Sainz on the opening lap. Brazil November 2021

Having a brief tussle with Charles Leclerc, and speaking with his team-mate after the race, Carlos Sainz was quick to tell the media “don’t get the wrong idea”.

Following a poor start for Sainz and a flying one for Leclerc, the Ferrari team-mates were each other’s closest competitors for much of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

They brought their cars home in fifth and sixth places with Leclerc crossing the line two seconds ahead of his team-mate.

Sainz was seen shortly after the race speaking with Leclerc, prompting the question what that was all about.

Asked by Sky Italia if he was speaking with the Monégasque about their fight out on track, Sainz shut that down.

“No,” he said. “I just asked him how the car was for him today. No, don’t get the wrong idea.”

The Spaniard was more concerned about his own start, saying he slipped up with the start procedure and that meant he got involved in lap 1 antics with Lando Norris, which left his former team-mate with puncture.

“At the start I shouldn’t have been fighting with Lando at Turn 1,” he said. “I started very badly.

“I think I did yesterday’s same procedure, I did everything in the same way, but for some reason we still have to understand we had a lot of wheel spin, which is one of those things that I don’t understand very well because I think the procedure was the same.

“So there’s something to understand there, then from there on I had a very good pace, good tyre management, but for some reason here overtaking is very difficult. I’ve been very fast all weekend but it’s like this.”

The Spaniard admitted he was not happy with his result.

“I wanted to finish in the top five,” he said. “I think today the pace and everything was right to finish in the top five.

“I had a great pace today, I followed Charles all the race but with dirty air it was difficult to get closer than two seconds. That means we had a good pace but when you lose it all at the start for two weekends in a row, Mexico and here, when you’ve been faster all weekend, that leaves you a bad feeling.

“But it’s like this, we’ll keep pushing and improving. The important thing is that I’m fast, I’m improving every race and I’m giving myself good opportunities.”

Ferrari’s 18-point haul in Brazil means they now hold an advantage of 31.5 points over rivals McLaren.

Additional reporting from Luca Brambilla