Leclerc vows to 'play it smart' with Sainz to push Ferrari


Charles Leclerc says Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz and himself will need to "play it smart" this season as they fight each other on the track while also giving priority to their team's objectives.

The Scuderia heads into the 2021 season determined to turn around the dismal fortunes that marked its 2020 campaign.

The Italian outfit has worked hard over the winter to improve its performance, opting to implement radical changes on its new SF21, including an all-new power unit.

Leclerc and Sainz are the final links in the new package, and both drivers are aware of what is at stake for the House of Maranello, and conscious that their inner team tug of war cannot take precedence over the Scuderia's interests. A team spirit must prevail.

"I think it’s a compromise that we need to find ourselves," Leclerc said. "It’s very clear in our mind that we need to push for the team and this is always the case anyway.

"Carlos wants to beat me and I want to beat him too, and then once we are on track we will try to be careful whenever we fight each other, always trying to have the vision of what we can do better for the team.


"I think what is most important is that we manage to do the separation of what happens on and off track and every time we are out of the car we need to work together to try to push the car forward for the development and the same way also in the car, to some extent, with the strategy, etc.

"That is the fine line that every teammate needs to find. Carlos is very competitive, but as he made clear also earlier, he is also here for the benefit of the team, as am I.

"So we will have to play it smart on that one."

Sainz is on the same page as his teammate, insisting he's always enjoyed a harmonious relationship with his past teammates and sees no reason for that to change with Leclerc.

"There is always a balance to find between wanting to be competitive with your reference as a teammate but at the same time, especially at the moment we are going through right now at Ferrari, there is one thing that is of paramount importance and that is the team," the Spaniard explained.

"I think we are both going to push flat out to make sure we can help this team to move forward. We have already started on the right foot, we are getting on well and we are having a good relationship.

"So I am encouraged about the relationship and the way we can move forward, and how we can help the team move forward.

"Personally, I have never had any issues with teammates, so I don’t know why I should have one with Charles."

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