"He seems to be more familiar with the strategies"- Carlos Sainz 'more of a team leader' than Charles Leclerc at Ferrari, claims former F1 champion

Carlos Sainz (55) Ferrari F1-75, 2022 F1 French GP
Carlos Sainz (55) Ferrari F1-75, 2022 F1 French GP

Former F1 world champion Damon Hill has claimed that Carlos Sainz seems like “more of a team leader” at Ferrari compared to teammate Charles Leclerc.

Speaking to Sky Sports following the 2022 F1 French GP, Hill said:

“Carlos [Sainz] has actually struck me as more the team leader [at Ferrari]. He seems to be more familiar with the team’s strategies, he seems to be able to make decisions."

Ferrari have so far refused to nominate a lead driver between Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc and have instead backed both on different occasions. Team principal Mattia Binotto believes that both of his drivers deserve equal treatment since they are both capable of battling for the championship.

Meanwhile, Leclerc has been consistently faster given his immediate comfort within the F1-75 as Sainz struggled to push the car to its limits early in the season. However, the Spaniard has bounced back as of late to become the lead scorer for the team, often directing the team’s strategy from within the cockpit.

Damon Hill believes that Sainz is filling Ferrari’s shortcomings on raceday by being the decisive voice. He added, saying:

“Their pit communications are a little bit halfway up the stairs; they are neither here nor there. Someone needs to take charge; we are making a decision. It’s either the driver or the strategist. They need clear direction.”

Carlos Sainz lacked trust on Ferrari pit wall, claims former F1 world champion

Former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has claimed that Carlos Sainz lacked trust on the Ferrari pit wall during the 2022 F1 French GP.

Villeneuve blamed the Scuderia for its hesitancy in making quick decisions and felt that it cost Sainz valuable points in the championship. In his column for Formule1, Villeneuve wrote:

“First, it went wrong for Sainz at his stop, the penalty he got after that. I think [Ferrari] should have redeemed themselves afterwards."
“He made a really brilliant move on Pérez and still seemed to have the speed to walk away. They then act hesitantly at the pit wall and that cost him points. It seemed like he didn't trust his team, but remember, we're only hearing bits and pieces of the radio communications.”

Ferrari’s indecisiveness cost Sainz a potential top-three finish as he was left out until late in the race before being switched over to a two-stop strategy. The call left the Spaniard unable to make up for lost ground and he was ultimately forced to settle for P5 with an extra point for the fastest lap.

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann