“I didn’t sign up to be a wingman”. Carlos Sainz made it clear when he arrived at Scuderia Ferrari last season and completed the team’s line-up alongside Charles Leclerc who in 2019 took two race wins to overturn the hierarchies that initially saw Sebastian Vettel being awarded the status of first driver. In 2021, the Spanish driver finished ahead of Charles Leclerc in the Drivers’ standings, but in the eyes of Ferrari fans, Charles Leclerc is the clear top driver of the Prancing Horse although fans have also expressed their support towards Carlos Sainz.
That Carlos Sainz has the same chances as Charles Leclerc inside the Ferrari garage has been certified during the 2022 Formula 1 season, in which from a strategic point of view the Spaniard has never been sacrificed in favor of the Monegasque as seen for example in Monaco and Silverstone, races in which Charles Leclerc lost positions even to his Maranello teammate as a result of tactical decisions made by the Ferrari pit wall that were obviously not aimed at penalizing Charles but at maximizing the team result by fighting for victory, which for example arrived in Great Britain.
Under Mattia Binotto’s orders, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have always worked together, especially in qualifying when it was a matter of offering each other a tow, a collaboration that, for example, was not seen at Red Bull between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
The Dutchman and the Mexican are no longer helping each other in qualifying also because Max Verstappen wants to mark the territory and keep the status of main driver, which was questioned at the beginning of the season by Sergio Perez. The latter, however, has always respected the Red Bull team orders during a race, which were always in favour of Max Verstappen: a precise hierarchy among the Red Bull drivers that has allowed Verstappen not to lose even a point in a crucial phase of the championship, when his lead was far from being in safe as it now seems to be.
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Ferrari President John Elkann said that by 2026 he expects Ferrari to win a Drivers’ title and a Constructors’ title. In the run-up to the Drivers’ World Championship, John Elkann puts Charles Leclerc in pole position, but the Ferrari chairman still wanted to express his appreciation for Carlos Sainz as well:
“I would like to congratulate both of them. They are are drivers who are directly involved in the progress of the car and know how to work as a team. As a driving style, they have great potential and a positive aggressiveness that characterizes them. Sometimes they even push beyond the limit, but both of them have made great improvements. I like their courage, which is a decisive factor to be successful in life as in sport” – he said, in the interview for La Gazzetta dello Sport – “I think they are two great drivers and this motivates them even more to improve. I am confident that we will win not only the Constructors ‘World Championship, but also the Drivers’ Championship and that Charles Leclerc is in pole position to do this” – John Elkann concluded.