Is a ‘frosty relationship’ developing between Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz?

Sam Cooper
Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in the rain at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in the rain.

A Formula 1 pundit said he believes there is a ‘frosty relationship’ developing between Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Sainz and Leclerc came to be team-mates when the Spaniard left McLaren to replace the departing Sebastian Vettel at Maranello in 2021.

To the surprise of many, Sainz beat Leclerc for points in his first year at Ferrari before the Monégasque made it 1-1 in the 2022 season.

While the two have often looked like they get on well, there have been possible signs of tension especially when it comes to team orders. In Austria, Sainz was not allowed to overtake his team-mate despite having more pace and the Spaniard took matters into his own hands and overtook Leclerc during Silverstone qualifying.

This prompted Leclerc to seek talks with the Ferrari higher ups and F1 pundit Harry Benjamin believes this could be signs of a “frosty relationship” between the two.

“I think there’s a bit of a frosty relationship developing between Leclerc and Sainz,” he said during the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast. “We’ve heard signs multiple times on the radio this year, wanting to be let past Leclerc because he’s the faster driver, he’s better.

“The strategy is not playing out and Sainz has a habit of overruling his team when it comes to strategy. Leclerc not so much, but I think both are now developing a bit of a maybe a slight distrust towards the Ferrari strategy team because they can’t get it right and they have done but they more often than not get it wrong.

“[During Silverstone] Sainz was having the back and forth and at one point, they weren’t really sure what their strategy was and then he dropped like a stone really in the last 10 laps. He lost about three or four spots and then ended up fighting with Leclerc and there were only three points that they picked up at the end.” recommends

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That strategy hesitation meant Sainz lost places to Sergio Perez and Alex Albon all within the space of a few corners, an incident Ralf Schumacher branded as “embarrassing.”

Ferrari meanwhile endured a poor race weekend following their podium in Austria. Jaguar driver Sam Bird said being fifth best in a weekend “isn’t good enough for the Scuderia.”

“Technically, they were the fifth best team this weekend,” he said on the same podcast. “Which isn’t good enough for the Scuderia. They started the year as the second best team, here they were the fifth best team and that’s not quite good enough from the team from Maranello.”

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