Charles Leclerc casts verdict on Carlos Sainz’s ‘risks’ after opening tense battle

Henry Valantine
Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc

2024 will be Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc's last as team-mates.

Charles Leclerc has said he and Carlos Sainz are “always trying to fight on the limit”, and will do so again once he retakes his place behind the wheel.

This will be the last season the two are teamed together at Ferrari as Lewis Hamilton waits in the wings to take on Sainz’s seat for 2025, and the Spaniard sat on the sidelines in Jeddah after needing appendicitis surgery.

Charles Leclerc says he and Carlos Sainz ‘always trying to fight on the limit’

Having headed into the year knowing it is his last as a Ferrari driver for now, Sainz would have perhaps been forgiven for taking more risks on track and driving from a more selfish perspective.

That was perhaps in evidence when Sainz overtook Leclerc twice in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, but it later became clear that the Monégasque driver was managing a brake issue that hindered his pace.

The in-team dynamic at Ferrari was put to Leclerc as a result, and he insisted that the respect he and Sainz have for each other, and Ferrari as a whole, will not get in the way of how they go racing this season.

“No, I think we are always trying to fight on the limit,” Leclerc told media in Jeddah when asked if he is racing his team-mate differently this season.

“Obviously keeping in mind that Ferrari comes first and we cannot take unnecessary risks. Again, on my side, I wasn’t really in a position to be fighting properly [in Bahrain] as we had quite a bit of issues to manage.

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“But yeah, at the end, it’s a balance and sometimes we might go a bit more over the limit and be a bit too aggressive and then we’ll have a discussion and we’ll recentre that, and that’s what we’ve done in the years we have been competing together, but I don’t remember any time where it went as far as having a problem between us.

“So that is a good thing and it should stay that way, but I have no doubts on that.

“We have also a very good relationship outside the car, so we are very open and very honest with ourselves, so we have this discussion very often.

“It’s all about finding the right balance, but I think we did.”

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