Leclerc: Drivers can be friends off the track

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly

Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly

Charles Leclerc says he can be friends with his new team-mate Carlos Sainz, and even rivals from other teams.

Last year, former F1 driver turned commentator Martin Brundle admitted he was perplexed at how the sport’s new generation of drivers can be rivals on track and then joke around off it.

“I don’t get it at all,” he told Auto Motor und Sport. “Best friends, how can that last? How can you be such an intense rival?

“We had friendships in the past, but eventually that would be broken because you would end up fighting over the same corner at the same time.

“I don’t understand how they can be joking around.”

Leclerc, though, sees no reason why he cannot be friends with the drivers he races against, even those outside the Ferrari fold.

The Monégasque driver is a close friend of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and was one of the first to congratulate the Frenchman when he won last year’s Italian GP.

“I can separate what is happening on the track from the relationship I have outside,” Gasly said in an interview with il Giornale.

“I can also be friends out of the car, like with Pierre.”

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Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly Italian GP 2020

This season, Leclerc has a new team-mate in Sainz, the Spaniard joining Ferrari having signed a two-year contract.

Both drivers were in the points at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, with Leclerc saying he was not surprised by Sainz’s pace.

“Surprised no, because I know from the beginning he is a very strong driver,” he said of the former McLaren driver.

“He is really very strong. And from him there is to learn from his driving style – he adapts very well to different situations.

“It’s interesting to see how he fits, how he works.”

He added: “We are pushing ourselves and it is very positive. For now it works and I hope we can continue to work so well together.

“We talk a lot, we work together, we do the good of the team.”

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