Carlos Sainz, for the second time in a row, has brilliantly zoomed his way to an F1 pole position, with Ferrari set to a dominating superior presence on the front row. However, there was a surprise in store when Mercedes‘ George Russell maneuvered his way into the front row mix, effectively pushing Leclerc down to the third position.
This comes in the wake of an exhilarating duel between Ferrari team members Sainz and Leclerc for the third spot in the recent Italian Grand Prix. Sainz successfully endured the staggering pressure inflicted by his younger racing partner, leading to his first podium appearance of the year.
When queried by F1 Initiative, whether a similar fierce contest is expected if victory is conceivable, or if they concede to team guidelines, both racers agreed to abide by the team’s decisions to ensure a triumphant outcome.
Interestingly, Sainz posits that another bout is unlikely at the Marina Bay Circuit. This, he attributes to the circuit’s distinct characteristics, including its tight turns and heavy reliance on traction. “The track doesn’t allow for the exciting battles and intense wheel-to-wheel racing that we experienced in Monza,” remarked Sainz. He further highlighted the team’s strategy, “We plan on giving our best to outdo Mercedes and finish as 1-2. I’m confident the team will prioritize the overall result to clinch the win.”
Echoing Sainz’s sentiments, Leclerc also agreed. He hinted that if the Ferrari pair was comfortably leading the race, he hoped the team would allow them to resolve it among themselves.
Leclerc anticipates the implementation of team orders if under pressure from rival teams, specifically Mercedes. “If we feel the heat from Mercedes, I’m fairly certain the team will fix positions,” he stipulated. But, he expressed hope that the rest of the racers would lag considerably behind them. In any case, Leclerc reaffirmed they would adhere to any instructive directives, irrespective of circumstances.