Leclerc has ‘different’ Ferrari rapport with Sainz

Henry Valantine
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

Charles Leclerc says he has a different relationship with his Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz compared to the dynamic with Sebastian Vettel.

Sainz’s arrival meant Ferrari’s driver pairing is one of the youngest in the history of the Scuderia, with the 26-year-old Spaniard joining Leclerc who is 23.

The Monegasque driver says this makes for a different atmosphere within the team, with four-time former World Champion Vettel being older and significantly more experienced than Leclerc.

“It is a different type of relationship because obviously he is my age, so we are laughing at the same things,” Leclerc told Channel 4 ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“We also have the same interests. We are having competitions in basically everything we do and it is all going well.”

Leclerc took a shock pole position at his home race in Monaco in May, following that up by taking P1 on the grid again in Baku before fading slightly to finish P4 in the race – after trying and failing to get past the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly in the final two laps. Sainz came home P8 after a hefty lock-up at Turn 8 hampered his chances in the race.

Despite their recent improvements, Leclerc does not think Ferrari will be competing for regular wins any time soon – along with Sainz saying he still needs time to adjust his “driving techniques” to get the most out of his car.

“Still pretty far [away],” said Leclerc when asked about the Scuderia’s pace relative to Mercedes and Red Bull. “In Formula 1 everything takes time, and if you look at the gap on a normal track like Spain we are still very far [away].

“So there is still a lot of work to do. On the other hand I think there is a big opportunity in 2022 with the new regulations, so this will be very important for us to start in the best way possible.”

Charles Leclerc's Ferrari after 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying

Show your support for Charles Leclerc with his official merchandise collection on the Formula 1 store

With the Mercedes and Red Bull squads seemingly competing on almost equal terms with their cars this season, Leclerc wants multi-team battles to continue to be a part of the sport in the future with even car performance – but that is not quite the case just yet.

“I really hope so. I feel like it’s getting towards that direction,” he said when asked about having tight competition in Formula 1.

“Especially also with these cars actually, you see Mercedes and Red Bull are in front but then there is a gap and all the midfield cars are there, so we are all very close.

“And hopefully next year with the rules being a bit simpler, a little bit less freedom in what we can do with the development of the car, hopefully all the cars will be a bit more together.

“That’s what the fans want, but that is also what we want as drivers because we want to be able to make the difference once we are in the car, and today it is just not possible because the car is making too much of a difference.”

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