Austrian Grand Prix – Things are heating up between Leclerc and Sainz: tense fight on the court and agreement ahead

An interesting fight for the spectators, still destructive for Ferrari. The Italian team is not doing well. Last Sunday at Silverstone, Mattia Binotto, director of the Scuderia team, did not want to choose between his drivers, and the success of the reds at the British Grand Prix seemed more a defeat for Charles Leclerc than a victory for and Carlos Sainz.

This non-election, especially detrimental in the race for the world title of Pilots, only aggravated the frustration of the Monegasque and increased the ambitions of the Spaniard, who discovered that he was an aspirant to the crown.

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With only 11 points from his teammate, the Madrid man did not hesitate to take his chance during the second sprint race of the season, on Saturday in Spielberg, where the Austrian Grand Prix is ​​being held. And fight the other “blonde.” Until he forgot to manage his tires, and let the Dutchman escape for good.

“I thought the battle was ahead …”

Charles Leclerc badly positioned behind the poleman Max Verstappen (Red Bull), the son of the two-time world rally champion rushed into the gap in the first corner, and bravely challenged the No. 1 RB18 at the traditional hot spot of curve n ° 3. Redoubled by the F1 75 n ° 16 inside to n ° 4, it did not lose sight of his objective and it scared all the tifosi delaying his braking to n ° 6. The maneuver was not as risky as the grotesque assault of the Principality pilot against Sebastian Vettel in this same place in 2019, but we had a certainty at the time: the knives were out with the reds.

Still attacked on turn 3 on the 7th lap, Leclerc fell inside to regain his position, and mostly blocked unceremoniously on the next turn. What Sainz was moved to calm down, dropping on the radio: “I thought the battle was ahead …”

Ferrari did not move, and the result showed that the two red cars had touched the tires more than right. In any case, it is enough to refrain from dreaming of an investment as Verstappen had operated in Imola.

Leclerc held out little hope for a leader’s foul and finished his 23 laps at 1.6, while Sainz has completely lost his footing and finished third with 5.6.

I hope we can work together tomorrow …

After this moment of frank tension, we waited to see the attitude of the two men on arrival. Leclerc, a refugee in a conversation with Verstappen, watched as Sainz passed by to get his medal. The Spaniard held out his hand, “Charlot” grabbed it without meeting his gaze, but everyone will have noticed the small blow he gave to the Iberian’s back, as he often does. And then they exchanged a few words as Max Verstappen recounted his career at the Formula 1 microphone.

Will this episode leave a trace? Leclerc and Sainz have retained the essentials. They didn’t touch, but we felt that their relationship could be on hold and that the spirit of collaboration could have suffered.

“It was pretty tricky,” Leclerc said, hot. The first part of the race was management. Max attacked with his tires, and I in the end, but there was the battle with Carlos. I started pushing. to get closer but it was too tight between us in terms of pace. “

“Sunday, I hope to have a good start to put pressure on Max”, added. For this, it may be necessary to play two against one, which is not certain. “I hope we can work together tomorrow …”he tossed, not wanting to stop.

For his part, Sainz downplayed the impact of his fight with his teammate: “I started well, I had a few good fights at the beginning, with Max at number 3, then with Charles. Maybe I overheated a bit and I had to take it easy. The battle with Charles against Max tomorrow and the we can win. “

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