[Leclerc: Sainz F1 tension talk is “blown out of proportion”
The pair have not always seen eye-to-eye this season, and there have been a number of times when radio messages have highlighted disagreements about their approach.
In Australia, Leclerc was unhappy that he did not get the tow that he had been expecting to get from Sainz in qualifying.
At the Austrian GP, Sainz came on the radio early in the race to ask Ferrari to move Leclerc aside, but his request was denied.
Then at the British GP, both drivers made pointed remarks about each other in qualifying after a tussle for track position.
Leclerc said “Nice Carlos, nice, good overtake in the last corner…” after Sainz passed him on track at Silverstone, despite the Monegasque driver having priority in the session.
Sainz then said: “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 moments have fuelled theories that Leclerc and Sainz have a much more intense rivalry than the team admits.
But Leclerc has rubbished that suggestion, as he says that people are misunderstanding the situation if they think there is internal trouble at Ferrari.
“I am quite active on social media, so I see what’s been said all around,” Leclerc said in an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com.
“It’s blown out of proportion, I think, with Carlos. We have a great relationship.
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23
Photo by: Ferrari
“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.”
Leclerc thinks that people should not read too much into radio messages, as they were often made in the heat of competition when the adrenaline is running high.
He 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.
“I think it also comes with being a Ferrari driver and being under the spotlight, probably more often than others. But that’s fine.
“In the end, within the team, we know that we have a good relationship and we are working towards the same goals.”