Leclerc reluctant to rely on team orders in title fight

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Charles Leclerc says Red Bull "have made their intentions clear" regarding how they plan on fighting for the title this season, but the Ferrari charger is reluctant for his team to call on Carlos Sainz to help his own championship bid.

In Barcelona last weekend, Sergio Perez was asked by the Red Bull pitwall to sacrifice his own race to allow Max Verstappen to win the Spanish GP and snatch the lead in the championship from Leclerc.

Perez complied half-heartedly but Red Bull's team orders made clear that the Mexican will be working in priority and when necessary for his teammate for the remainder of the season.

But Leclerc admits that he would not feel comfortable if Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto imposed such orders on Sainz at this stage of the season.

"Red Bull made it clear what are their intentions, and they did it very early in the season," Leclerc said. "But concerning us. I don't know.

"I haven't spoken about it with Mattia and I haven't heard about anything of this for now.

"But again, I think Carlos is just a matter of time before he gets with us and that he gets more at ease with the car. So I don't know.

"But I don't want to rely on that either. I just want to do the job in the car. And if we are strong enough, we have already shown that we can win races anyway.

"If we do a strong enough job, then I'm pretty sure that the chances are there anyway."

Sainz has been comprehensively outpaced by Leclerc since the start of the season. By his own admittance, the Spaniard is struggling to come to grips with Ferrari's F1-75, and his efforts to improve his performance have led to mistakes.

But at some point, if Sainz can raise his game, he will prove useful in helping Leclerc's quest for the world title by taking valuable points away from Red Bull.

Regardless of how his challenge unfolds, Leclerc is convinced his teammate will eventually join the fight at the front of the field.

"He's a very, very strong driver," Leclerc said. "He’s been struggling maybe a little bit more to adapt to this car, and it fitted features of my driving style a little bit better maybe at the beginning.

"So I’m pretty sure Carlos will be will be in the fight too very, very soon. At the end, it's up to me also to do the right job and to bring Ferrari on top anyway."

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