Throughout the current season, it appears as though there’s been some tension between Ferrari teammates Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Differences in approach have often come to light through radio messages exchanged during races.
The animosity first reared its head in Australia. Leclerc expressed frustration over not receiving the tow from Sainz during qualifying that he had expected.
The tension between the teammates continued at the British Grand Prix, where each driver issued pointed remarks about the other during qualifying, following a scrape for track positioning. Leclerc registered his displeasure over the radio saying, “Nice Carlos, nice, good overtake in the last corner…”. This came after Sainz overtook him at Silverstone, even though Leclerc had been prioritised in that session.
Sainz retorted with, “It’s a bit unfair what you’re asking me to do there. Sacrifice my tyre temperature. But anyway, whatever. Also, I am P4, he is P3, I am more at risk.”
These instances have sparked speculation that Leclerc and Sainz are more intense rivals than what is projected by the team.
But Leclerc has dismissed these allegations in a recent exclusive interview with F1 Initiative. Speaking about the issue, Leclerc said, “I am quite active on social media, so I see what’s been said all around. It’s blown out of proportion, I think, with Carlos. We have a great relationship.”
Further elaborating on his equation with Sainz, Leclerc said, “Outside the car, we know how to work together, and we get on really well together because we share lots of interests. At the same time, there’s a lot of competitiveness in between us two. But we are in Formula 1, and I love the sport because there’s competitiveness. I think it’s great to have that.”
Seeking to put these rumours to bed, Leclerc added, “Sometimes there’s a bit of discussion over the radio on some situations. But it is just because we are competitive, and we both want to do the absolute best result possible. These are things that are normal.”
Leclerc pointed out the pressure of representing Ferrari and being under the constant gaze of the public. He concluded, “In the end, within the team, we know that we have a good relationship and we are working towards the same goals.”