Tension Rises At Ferrari After The Spanish Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz At Each Other’s Throats After Spanish Grand Prix

All of Ferrari’s hopes after the win in Monaco dissipated after the race week in Canada. Spain was supposed to be a redemption race for Ferrari, but it was a rather underwhelming weekend for them in Barcelona.

The red cars closed their race in 5th and 6th position, the positions they had qualified in. This time, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Lando Norris were not the only ones ahead of the Ferraris, but so were the two Mercedes.

While trying to overtake his teammate on the first few laps, Sainz made contact with Leclerc’s front wing. Sainz, in the final stages of the race, let Leclerc through without much else to say, following the team’s orders as Leclerc was faster on Soft tyres compared to the Spaniard who was on Hards.

After the race, both Leclerc and Sainz gave their thoughts on the event.

Leclerc: “The fight with Carlos wasn’t fair”

On top of their lack of pace in comparison to those ahead, things seem to be tough even between the two drivers of the Scuderia Ferrari, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

The number 16 almost had the chance to take P4 from George Russell. He was within DRS range of the Brit during the last lap, but at the end, he crossed the finish line in P5. During post-race interviews, he commented on his contact with Sainz:

“The fight with Carlos wasn’t fair, especially in that moment. After the briefing this morning, we knew that it was the moment to save our tyres. I did it in that lap, but I’ve seen that he didn’t and he overtook me at the end of the straight.”

“He didn’t have to take that risk and do that corner like I wasn’t there. Unfortunately, it damaged my front wing on the left and this made me lose some time”. – Charles Leclerc.

Charles Leclerc also said that he understands the need to do something spectacular for his [Carlos Sainz] home race, however, he believes that it cost him a position.

Embed from Getty Images

Sainz: “I had the chance to overtake him”

At the start of this week, Carlos Sainz hoped for a win at his last home Grand Prix with Ferrari. However, the team wasn’t competitive enough during the race. Sainz didn’t manage to overtake Lewis Hamilton during the first stint and the Mediums and Hards didn’t give him much pace either.

Ferrari have much to improve on, and the Spaniard believes that the team need to improve on long and medium-high-speed corners.

When informed about Charles Leclerc’s comments on the contact during the first stint, Sainz shared his thoughts

“We were on new soft compounds, Mercedes was on old tyres and we had to attack. I did exactly that. I don’t know what happened to him on the first lap, I don’t know if he made a mistake, but I had the chance to overtake him.

It’s not like I could stay behind him for all life”

“I don’t know what he’s complaining about” – Carlos Sainz.

Fred Vasseur: “We didn’t lose anything”

Fred Vasseur, Ferrari Team Principal, had to intervene to clear some of the things his drivers said. When asked about it by Sky Sports Italy, the TP said:

“I think he’s [Leclerc] complaining because he lost a half of a second or a second, but we didn’t relieve any damage in the data. But we can find ten others moments where he lost a second during the race”. 

“It was a small contact, but we didn’t lose anything in that phase, I don’t believe that. We started fifth and sixth and finished fifth and sixth” – Fred Vasseur.

The team principal was more concerned about Ferrari’s overall performance in Spain. He said that they were penalised because of the strategies, and towards the end, Leclerc needed one more lap to overtake George Russell’s Mercedes.

“But, at the end, we need to do a better job on Saturdays”, Vasseur stated over Ferrari’s qualifying form. Ferrari have shown that even despite all the upgrades, there is still a lot to work on in Maranello.

What more could Ferrari do?

As Vasseur said, the first thing that the Scuderia needs to improve is their Qualifying performance. Ferrari have improved the cars’ balance with the new upgrades and with the work done on Friday, but overall, the effort didn’t pay off on Saturday especially when compared to Norris and Verstappen’s times.

Tyre management was another aspect that influenced their qualifying runs. Both Ferrari drivers couldn’t seem to get the tyres to the right temperature. This resulted in less grip which didn’t help the performances of both Leclerc and Sainz.

Tyres were an issue during the race, too. Ferrari opted for different strategies for the drivers during the last run. While Leclerc stayed out to extend his stint and then pitted for Softs, Sainz pitted earlier for Hards.

This wasn’t the best call for the Spaniard, as the Hard tyres didn’t work for him (nor anyone else). The reason behind it is the temperature of the track. The asphalt wasn’t warm enough to assure him good grip on the hardest compounds. Even George Russell, who was on the same strategy as Sainz, complained about the tyre choice.

Strategy has seemingly been Ferrari’s biggest problem over recent years and is something they need to work through.

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