Leclerc: Not having team leader at Ferrari is 'good'

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari in the FIA Press Conference. 13.03.2021.
© XPB 

Charles Leclerc insists he's happy that Ferrari aren't designating a number one driver at the outset of the 2021 season.

Following Sebastian Vettel's departure from the team over the winter, Leclerc is being joined at Maranello by Carlos Sainz.

But despite being the senior driver in this year's line-up with two wins and seven pole positions since he joined the Scuderia in 2019, Leclerc is happy not to be in the spotlight as the de facto team leader.

“While I’ve spent more time in Ferrari than Carlos did [and] I have more experience with Ferrari, I don’t think there is a clear leader,” Leclerc told the media during a pre-season testing press conference in Bahrain.

“I am here in F1 to fight against the best and I think Carlos is extremely talented," he continued. "We will just push each other to perform better every time we are on track.

“Carlos is bringing experience from other teams," he pointed out. "That is very interesting, and that's also giving us new roads to explore.

"I’ve never spent as much time as I did with him before I started the season, as I did with other team-mates,” he added. “We are getting on very well and working well together.

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-21. 14.03.2021.

“With Carlos we seem to have very similar feeling of the car. Very similar comments. We are going in the same direction, both of us with our comments.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto had previously stated that neither driver will start with an assumed superiority over the other.

“There is nothing written in the contract of Charles being the leader,” he said before Christmas. "The two will be free to fight."

“Yes, as the team mentioned, there is no clear number one or number two,” Leclerc confirmed on Saturday. “I think Mattia made it clear, and that’s good.

“The mentality of the team itself is still as motivated as last year, really willing to push to better things. Better days are coming soon!"

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