‘No way’ Sainz will suffer team orders at home race

Sam Cooper
Carlos Sainz shaking hands with Charles Leclerc. Miami, May 2022.

Jolyon Palmer believes there is “no way” Ferrari would tell Carlos Sainz to move aside for Charles Leclerc at the Spanish Grand Prix.

It may only be five grands prix into a 22-race campaign, but there is already talk that Ferrari may have to prioritise one of their drivers if they hope to win the Drivers’ Championship.

The obvious candidate is Leclerc having earned more than double his team-mate’s points so far, but also because he now has Max Verstappen just 19 points behind him.

Despite finishing with more points than his new team-mate last season, it stands to reason that if this form continues then Sainz will eventually become the second driver to Leclerc.

While that possibility may become a reality someway down the line, former Renault driver Palmer believes it will not happen in Sainz’s home race this weekend.

“I can pretty much guarantee it won’t be this weekend if it does come for Carlos,” he said on the F1 Nation podcast.

“Can you imagine telling him that he has got to get out of the way? He has never won a race so it is the trickiest one for Carlos.

 

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“He beat Charles in the points last year as well so I don’t think the point comes just yet. We can all see the direction it is going but you never say never and it just takes a couple of bad races and it can swing back around at this point.”

Palmer went on to compare Sainz with Sergio Perez and while the Mexican has yet to find himself in a position to be forced to cede the position to his team-mate, it is generally understood that Red Bull would be willing to issue that team order.

“It is just the relentless performance of those two [Verstappen and Leclerc]. [It] sort of looks ominous for their team-mates and at some point they will have to [use team orders],” Palmer explained.

“But there is no way it is coming at the Spanish Grand Prix.

“It would be so irksome for Sainz to get out of the way for his team-mate at this stage in the championship and he will still think that he can be champion. He can cling onto the glimmer of hope.”

 

Sainz is looking to end a 145-race streak without a win and said he has a “real opportunity” to win his home race.

“It’s a real opportunity to make a podium or win a race at home, it’s a unique feeling that I’m really looking forward to,” he told Motorsport.com.

“It would be my first [victory] and for that reason it would be very special and, second, it would be at home.

“This is what I work for every day, trying to make it happen as soon as possible and the one who wants to win the most is me.”