Leclerc critical of Sainz’s ‘over the limit’ move in Shanghai Sprint

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Charles Leclerc criticized his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz for a defensive move in Saturday’s Sprint event in Shanghai that he felt was “over the limit”.

The Ferrari pair were part of a mele of four drivers that also included Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez scrapping for third place in the second part of the 19-lap race.

The Mexican gained the upper hand after dispatching Alonso while Leclerc and Sainz lost time fighting each other.

Leclerc attempted a move on the outside of Turn 14 only to be pushed wide in the middle of the hairpin. The Monegasque eventually had the last word to cross the checkered flag fourth, over two seconds ahead of Sainz.

But the wheel-to-wheel action with his teammate was labeled as too aggressive by Leclerc and would require a discussion.

“To be honest, I have crossed the line also myself in the past and when this happens, we normally have a discussion,” he said. .

“We clear the air which we've went through in the past already and it went really well. So I have no worries that it will be the case this weekend - but today, he went a bit over the limit.

“I mean, [there was] contact between us [while] being in a different race situation because I had saved quite a bit the tyres, I had a good pace at the end.

“It's a bit of a shame that we lost that spot to Perez and couldn't go and take him but it's like this. P4, it could have been P3. It's one point, you can always do better.”

Responding to Leclerc’s comments, Sainz owned up to the dodgy moment between the two Scuderia chargers, pointing to his tyres as the culprit for his marginal maneuver at Shanghai’s hairpin.

“I was pushing Max hard at the beginning because I knew if I was passing him I had a strong chance of winning the race,” Sainz said.

“That probably killed my tyres a bit and then I was managing [them] for the rest of the race until I got Fernando.

“I did a really good move around the outside of Turn 7, from then on he decided to be a bit of all or nothing into Turn 9 which cost us both the race.

“I think I picked up damage and a lot of dirt on my tyre from the optimistic move, I was doing everything I could to defend and sliding.

“I had a bit of a moment with Charles. I apologise if I did something over the limit but we were all racing really hard today, I was trying my best to keep it under control.”

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