THE SEASON OF THE TWO FERRARI DRIVERS ENDED IN THE MOST UNPREDICTABLE WAY. CARLOS SAINZ FINISHES AHEAD OF CHARLES LECLERC IN THE DRIVER RANKING, BUT THE NUMBER OF PODIUMS REALLY STANDS OUT
After the Abu Dhabi race, Carlos Sainz’s contestants had to definitively change their minds. In the Emirates, the Spaniard brought his Ferrari to a podium finish for the fourth time this season, which gave him fifth place in the drivers’ standings at the last minute. All this to the detriment of teammate Charles Leclerc, who in 2021 was unlucky in more than one occasion.
Once the championship is over, it’s time to look back, and also take a look at the numbers. Rather surprisingly Carlos Sainz managed to end the 2021 Formula One season ahead of Charles Leclerc, the two scored 164.5 and 159 points respectively in the twenty-two events. The difference between the two is five and a half points, but the podiums are the main aspects: four for the Spanish driver, just one for the Monegasque.
MUNICH, HUNGARY AND JEDDAH, THE EMBLEM OF 2021
In his debut year at the wheel of the Red car, Carlos proved consistent, overcoming the obstacle of adaptability to the new Ferrari car rather quickly. It is undeniable that his four seasonal podiums are the result of a perseverance that has allowed him to find himself in the right place at the right time. This is what happened in Monaco, Hungary, Russia and finally Abu Dhabi. A second place and three third places that are the perfect answer for those who had doubts and that at the same time give reason to the choice of Ferrari.
Taking into account the potential of Charles, some could therefore say that his year was not up to par. And if Carlos Sainz has finished on the podium several times, why Charles Leclerc instead only once? But it would be a consideration based only on the numbers, made by those who have not seen the races. 2021 saw the Monegasque driver as a protagonist of real feats, despite the fact that the overall balance seems to be negative.
Sometimes Charles Leclerc has reached very high levels, such as the pole position in Baku – even more than that of Monte Carlo – and the Grand Prix at Silverstone. Because the boy knows how to do incredible things, and that’s why Ferrari decided to bet on him three years ago. But on the other hand, it is undeniable how often things did not go in the right direction. In the principality, the mistake was his, but there are too many cases in which Lady Luck has turned her back on him.
Had it not been for the paltry penalty of Lewis Hamilton in the UK, Charles would have even won the British Grand Prix. At the Hungaroring he was taken out by Lance Stroll at the start, putting an early end to his race, and in Russia his recovery race was canceled by the rain of the final laps. In Jeddah, on the other hand, the red flag is displayed only after his pit stop, allowing those who have not stopped to finish in front of him.
Fr these reasons, Charles Leclerc’s season must be considered positively after all. Maybe not as good as Carlos Sainz’s, but very close. Because if the Madrid driver has (also) a greater number of points on his side, it is due, among other things, to the two DNFs of the Monegasque – 20 to 18. On the other hand there is a reason that Charles himself has stamped this year as a season “in which we were a bit unlucky”.
It is true that the Spaniard can only be pleased to have managed to overtake his teammate in various statistics; however, a fifth place cannot be (and is not) what they both aspire to. So the glass is only half full, we’ll talk about it again when Ferrari returns to fighting for the only position that matters.