Leclerc backtracks after sarcastic Sainz jibe

Tension between Ferrari’s race drivers spilled out into the public after qualifying in Melbourne.

Having qualified just seventh, two places behind his teammate, Charles Leclerc criticised Carlos Sainz for blocking him on a fast lap.

“Thanks to Carlos for the slipstream through turns 3 and 4,” he sarcastically told the French broadcaster Canal Plus. “That’s always nice.”

Apparently, Spaniard Sainz heard about Leclerc’s sarcastic remark both on the Ferrari radio to his engineers but also to Canal Plus, and confronted the Monaco-born driver in the media ‘pen’.

Cameras captured the tense exchange.

Later, when Leclerc sat down with the print media, his criticism of Sainz had been tempered and he only spoke about a “possible misunderstanding”.

“I wasn’t putting it all together so it was my fault,” he said. “Q3 was a bit better but I don’t know what happened in the second run, if there was a miscommunication with Carlos or whatever, but I found myself behind him for the whole first sector which was not very good.

“We will talk about it in the briefing to try to improve these situations but I didn’t do a great job today either.”

Sainz said he was actually happier with the car in Melbourne compared to Bahrain and Jeddah.

“We have changed the car quite a bit,” he said.

“We’ve tried a lot of things and while I wouldn’t say we’ve turned it upside down, we’ve changed it a lot.

“It may seem like we’ve taken a step back compared to Jeddah because instead of 2nd and 5th we are 5th and 7th, but I felt more comfortable.”

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