Leclerc has ‘not become No1’ ahead of Sainz

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz expects to be playing "catch-up" to Charles Leclerc in early 2021.

Charles Leclerc is adamant Ferrari has not handed him number one status over his new-for-2021 team-mate Carlos Sainz.

Earlier this month Leclerc learnt that he would have a new team-mate for next season with Sebastian Vettel leaving Ferrari and Sainz taking his place.

The Spaniard has been signed to a two-year deal, two years less than Leclerc’s contract which runs until the end of 2024.

With the Monégasque driver billed as the future of Ferrari, many pundits are wondering if Sainz has signed up to Leclerc’s number two.

The two-time grand prix winners denies this.

“Of course Carlos is going to challenge me, he is going to be very fast,” he told L’Equipe.

“I have not become number one.

“I think Carlos is a great driver and he is going to show it, if it is not obvious to everyone already.

“For me it will be a great challenge, different from driving alongside Vettel.”

One of the big differences it the experience of the two.

While 2020 will mark Sainz’s sixth season racing in Formula 1, it is Vettel’s 13th full season in the sport.

Leclerc feels he has learnt a great deal racing alongside the four-time World Champion.

“It’s true that he taught me a lot of things,” he said.

“I’m very happy to have had him as a team-mate because he is a very experienced driver.”

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