Ferrari tension: Charles Leclerc not happy with Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz is the only non-Red Bull driver to win a Formula 1 race in the last two seasons

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Charles Leclerc has admitted he wasn’t happy to see his team-mate Carlos Sainz claim victory in the Formula 1 2024 Australian Grand Prix, as the Ferrari driver has vowed to end his long wait for a race win in the near future.

Sainz produced a masterful performance to win his third race for the Scuderia in Melbourne, which came just two weeks after he was forced to undergo appendix surgery. It means that the 29-year-old remains the only driver to have denied Red Bull victory since the beginning of the 2023 campaign.

Leclerc has looked the stronger of the two drivers over one lap in qualifying, but ultimately failed to convert any of his five pole positions last year into race wins. The Monegasque hasn’t won a race since the 2022 Austrian GP, while Sainz has claimed all three of Ferrari’s last victories at Silverstone in 2022, Singapore in 2023 and Australia in March this year.

And the 26-year-old conceded he is not satisfied with seeing his team-mate get one over him as he looks to end his 42-race wait to step on top of the podium.

“I’d lie if I said I’m happy with it, wins are important but also points at the end of the season are even more so,” Leclerc told the press in Japan. “However, I want to get back to winning as soon as possible.

“Carlos has done an amazing job in the two opportunities and now it’s up to me to try and react and hopefully win the next one. That’s the target and I’m working flat out for that.”

Leclerc puts up a strong defence

Sainz has been the talk of the paddock after his win, with the Spaniard currently without a drive for next season as he will be replaced by Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari. Every race will therefore give him a chance to put himself in the shop window for a potential move to Mercedes, Red Bull or Aston Martin.

But Leclerc, who believes his performances have gone under the radar, insists that he doesn’t feel extra pressure to beat Sainz now that he knows his team-mate is fighting to secure his future in F1.

Charles Leclerc during the 2024 Australian GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Charles Leclerc during the 2024 Australian GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

“At the end of the day, I think very quickly people tend to forget and it’s based on the last race,” Leclerc added. “But if I look at my last eight or nine races, I think they’ve been at a very good level.

“In most of those races it was not possible to win, but it’s up to me to be up there when the opportunity arises and the fact is I haven’t been doing that in Singapore and in the last race.

“But I’ll keep pushing of course, however, the fact that Carlos won’t be at Ferrari next year doesn’t add pressure to try and win.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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