Ferrari scrutinised over allowing tense Sainz v Leclerc battle to unfold at Monza

Thomas Maher
Monza: Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz do battle in the quest for the final podium place.

Monza: Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz do battle in the quest for the final podium place.

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur has defended his decision to allow Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to battle so hard for the final podium spot at Monza.

Polesitter Carlos Sainz claimed the final podium place at the Italian Grand Prix, having been overcome by both Red Bulls over the course of the race.

But Sainz had to fend off the attentions of Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc in the closing stages, with the Monegasque throwing everything he had at the Spaniard in his attempts to get by.

Fred Vasseur: I trusted both Ferrari drivers

At one point, Leclerc actually managed to get by Sainz into Turn 1, only to slightly outbrake himself and allow Sainz to position himself for a dramatic drag race into the Della Roggia chicane – both running slightly wide as Sainz took the position.

It was a drag race Sainz won, with the Spaniard holding on to clinch the third-place finish by just two-tenths of a second as the cars crossed the line nose-to-tail after a final-lap lunge from Leclerc saw him locking up into Turn 1.

With the two cars getting so close together during their tense fight, it led to the obvious question of why Ferrari were willing to risk so much by allowing their drivers to fight and risk a strong points finish and podium at their home race.

“Because, if I froze the position, you would have exactly the same question – ‘Why did you freeze the situation?'” Fred Vasseur told media, including, when asked about why there hasn’t been a call to cease racing.

“It’s much easier to comment when you have a happy end, but I think it was also the best way to thank everybody, and the support of the tifosi.

“I was not very comfortable to freeze something five laps before the end – I trust them, but I told them no risk at all.”

“It’s always relative and I think that the notion of no risk is relative, but it’s an opinion, and I’m quite proud of the decision and of the job done by the drivers today.” recommends

F1 team principals’ rich list: Net worth figures revealed for Wolff, Horner and more

F1 Driver of the Day: Who has won the award in F1 2023?

Fred Vasseur made final call to allow Ferrari battle

As for whether the decision to allow the battle to continue was made by the strategists or from Vasseur directly, the Frenchman confirmed that he had made the final call to allow the fight to continue.

“On this, I want to have the last call. I told them ‘no risk, you can race, but no risk’,” he said.

“Again, it’s relative. But I was much more comfortable with the situation than to freeze something.”

Pointed out to him that the drivers appeared to have a different interpretation of where the line of risk really was, Vasseur smiled.

“I don’t want to have a polemic on this,” he said.

“If I froze the situation, I would have had exactly the same question: ‘Why did you freeze, it’s not the spirit of the race’, and so on.

“So you can always say that it was a bit too much or not. But, in the end, the drivers finished the race and I’m more than happy with the outcome of this.”

Read Next: Carlos Sainz reveals what ‘nearly cost me a podium’ at Monza after staunch defence