Leclerc: Late scrap with Sainz 'is what racing should be'

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Charles Leclerc says his no holds barred fight with Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz in the closing stages of Sunday's Italian Grand Prix reflected what "racing should be all the time".

Leclerc spent the first half of his race in third place behind Sainz and Red Bull's Max Verstappen but without the ability to attack the latter.

As the 51-lap event unfolded, rear tyre wear saw Sainz lose the lead to Verstappen, succumb to Sergio Perez and eventually fall into the clutches of Leclerc.

With no team orders from the Scuderia's pitwall to spoil the duel, the two drivers were let loose, with Sainz valiantly – and successfully – defending his position against a very incisive Leclerc.

The fight was borderline on the limit at times, but there were no complaints from either driver who rejoiced in the fight as did the thousands of Tifosi.

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"This is what racing should be all the time in my opinion," said Leclerc after the race. "This reminds me of the karting days when we were all on the limits.

"With Max we have had these battles in the past, with Checo we have had these battles in the past and with Carlos today, it was really on the limit."

While Ferrari's drivers were free to fight, there was an order sent to the pair just two laps from the checkered flag to not take any risks, a command that appeared to fall on Leclerc's deaf ears.

"I am sure for the pits, they wouldn’t give the same answer and I'm sure some of the Tifosi maybe didn't enjoy as much as I did with Carlos," the Monegasque admitted.

"At the end of it, we maximised the team's points and the maximum result we could have done as a team."

Sainz, who spent almost every lap of his race fending off an attack from behind, echoed his Ferrari teammate's views.

"It was tough, hard racing, and it's always been a pleasure to race Charles whenever we have had the chance," said the Spaniard.

"And today was the same. He is a great racer, the same as Max and Checo. We had fun out there and I hope the fans enjoyed it."

As for Scuderia boss Fred Vasseur, the Frenchman was happy with how things had panned out and said that he'll debrief with his drivers on Monday in Maranello.

"For sure it’s a bit of a strange feeling, but as you know, I’m a big fan of letting them race," commented Vasseur.

"It was a great feeling. I told them no risk. The notion of no risk is always relative, but I really appreciated the last couple of laps and I hope that the fans did.

"As you can imagine, we’ll have the discussion after the race, but perhaps not tonight. Tomorrow they are in the factory.

"I don’t want to see it tonight, I will watch it tomorrow."

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