Sainz knows when to ‘bite’ Leclerc and when to hold back

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Carlos Sainz has acknowledged the importance of timing and prudence when engaging in battles with his Ferrari teammate, Charles Leclerc.

Sainz says that he has learned to carefully select the moments when he can assert himself and "bite" at Leclerc's pace, while also recognizing the instances where he needs to exercise restraint and "control" his instincts.

The pair’s partnership has blossomed since they became teammates in 2021, solidifying their position as one of the strongest driver pairings in Formula 1.

Their combined talent and competitive spirit have pushed each other to new heights, resulting in a mutually beneficial dynamic within the Ferrari team.

In the inaugural season of the sport’s ground effect regulations in 2022, Leclerc emerged as the dominant driver, claiming three victories to Sainz's one and earning a substantial 62-point lead in the Drivers' Championship.

However, Sainz refused to be intimidated by Leclerc's early success.

Last year, he demonstrated remarkable resilience, showcasing his ability to challenge Leclerc on equal footing. The 29-year-old secured back-to-back pole positions at Monza and Singapore and converted the latter into a resounding victory.

His exceptional performance earned him the distinction of being the only non-Red Bull driver to triumph in a race throughout the 2023 season.


“In every race, we are within half a tenth of each other. Charles Leclerc and I are always together,” he told Spain’s DAZN.

“The ability he has on a single lap, the ability he has in the race to come back and gain positions at the start… We make a very good pair.”

So far, and despite their close competition, Sainz and Leclerc have enjoyed a harmonious relationship, which Sainz views as an undeniable asset for the Scuderia.

“I think we are two drivers who get on very well together,” he added. “I think that’s the best thing for the team, to have two drivers pushing each other.

“I think we have a healthy competition between us, but we always prioritise the team.

“I try to bite when I have to bite and I try to control myself when I have to control myself.”


The fate of Ferrari's star duo hangs in the balance as their current contracts both expire at the end of 2024.

Recent reports suggest that Leclerc is on the verge of securing a lucrative five-year extension that would bind him to the Scuderia until 2028.

However, Sainz's future remains uncertain, as he is seeking a two-year extension to his current deal.

Speculation has linked the two-time Grand Prix winner with a potential move to Sauber, particularly with Audi's impending entry into Formula 1 ahead of the major rule changes scheduled for 2026.

However, Sainz has repeatedly maintained his desire to remain with Ferrari, citing his deep connection with the team and his aspiration to challenge for the championship with them.

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