Also in the sprint race from Spielberg on Saturday, Sainz licks blood again: At the start and in the initial phase of the race, the two Scuderia stars duel hard several times, in the end Leclerc prevails because he extends his elbows in turn three and his stable mate from the Ideal line presses.
Sainz still puts on a good face to the bad game after the race: “It was a couple of good fights and it was fun. It’s a shame I couldn’t get him,” says the aggressive Spaniard in relation to Leclerc.
The mood at the Monegasque is completely different: Leclerc appears tight-lipped and sour in the interviews after crossing the finish line. With a view to the race on Sunday, the Ferrari star even calls for the team to intervene: “Tomorrow it’s a long race, so tire management is a bit more important than today. We can’t afford what we did today.”
After the events at Silverstone, Leclerc himself does not believe in a stable order: there the Ferrari command post shot him a clear own goal with a tire stop that did not occur. Sainz, on the other hand, was called to service, won the race and moved up to eleven points in the World Championship.
“Of course we won’t decide that. Mattia (Binotto, team boss; ed.) will do that,” says Leclerc with a view to a possible stable direction on Sunday and adds because of the internal duel in the sprint: “Today we have time lost. Probably not enough to go for the win because Max managed his pace too. But you never know what would have happened.”
The competition sees it that way too: Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko thanks Ferrari after the sprint for making Verstappen’s life so easy. “The start was a bit critical, because the Ferraris came very close because of the two long straights. Thank God they fought each other, that gave Max a two-second advantage,” says the man from Graz.
Sainz logically sees things differently than Lerlerc and Marko and justifies his attacks: “There was little to win or lose today. We’re only talking about one point. And Max controlled the race at the front, so it’s not like we had because big gives something away and otherwise panics him.”
Rather, the Spaniard believes that both Ferraris do not necessarily have to work together to heat up Verstappen. “We will both try to make life as difficult as possible for Max and for that we both have to push at full throttle, because he is already very far ahead (in the World Cup; ed.)”
On Saturday, Binotto denied Italian press reports about a split in the team before the sprint. Allegedly, some team members from Leclerc’s side of the garage refused to take part in the winning photo with Sainz out of frustration at the strategy disaster at Silverstone. “I checked it, that’s not true,” Binotto points the rumors into the realm of fables.
The mood is also good between him and Leclerc – despite the raised index finger in the parc fermé. The team boss reveals that he even visited Leclerc in Monaco during the week: “We had dinner together and laughed about what we read in the newspapers because it was completely wrong.” The expression of his previous number 1 pilot after the sprint cannot be explained away by Binotto either, because it spoke volumes – just like his words at the press conference.