Awkward rivalry: Can Leclerc catch up with jobless-in-2025 Sainz?

Charles Leclerc, the renowned driver from Monaco, acknowledges the pressing need to enhance his performance to match that of his teammate, Carlos Sainz. Currently, Leclerc finds himself in the uncomfortable position of lagging behind his teammate, despite Sainz’s lack of a contract for the 2025 season following his victory in Melbourne.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull, a three-time world champion, refrains from criticizing Ferrari’s decision to select Leclerc as Lewis Hamilton’s partner for the upcoming seasons. Verstappen is quoted in the Dutch publication Formule 1, stating, “Carlos now has to make the right choice about where he wants to go.” He further adds, “That seems like a reasonable decision to me. Charles has been working with the team for so long and has just signed a new contract.”

Leclerc’s immediate goal is to recalibrate and align his performance with Sainz, especially after Sainz’s triumph in Australia, which was remarkable considering his recovery from an urgent appendix surgery. Despite Ferrari’s advancements in competitiveness for the 2024 season, Leclerc confesses, “I would be lying if I said I was happy.”

He emphasizes the significance of victories, noting their importance but also highlighting that accumulating points throughout the season holds greater value. “Carlos is doing an extraordinary job,” Leclerc acknowledges during an event in Suzuka. He expresses his determination to respond and clinch a victory, possibly in the upcoming race, stating, “Now it’s my turn to react and win, maybe already this race. I’m putting everything into making it possible.”

Reflecting on his recent performances, Leclerc remarks, “In Formula 1 you tend to forget everything quickly – to concentrate on the last race.” He believes that despite not being able to secure wins in his last 8-9 races, his performance level has been commendable. “It’s up to me to be ready when there is the possibility, and I wasn’t ready either in Singapore in 2023 or in Australia two weeks ago. But I keep pushing.”

Leclerc finds solace in the fact that he is piloting one of the fastest cars on the circuit, second only to Red Bull. He describes Ferrari’s vehicle as “stable and predictable” and anticipates further improvements. “Then the updates will arrive and hopefully they will allow us to fight in a consistent manner,” he concludes, optimistic about the future.

GMM

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