According to Jacques Villeneuve, however, the tides could turn at Ferrari, and Carlos Sainz could be a headache for Charles Leclerc. The Spaniard comes to Ferrari on the back of having some quick teammates in Max Verstappen, Nico Hulkenberg and Lando Norris.
Sainz is used to fast teammates in the opposite garage, and will not be overwhelmed by Leclerc's blistering pace. This is where Villeneuve feels the Spaniard's experience will help him adapt to life at Ferrari.
In an interview with Corriere Della Sera to mark his 50th birthday, Villeneuve said:
“For Charles, the real danger is Carlos Sainz. Because Carlos has never [before] been in such an important team. He has built himself up over time, he comes with grit and experience, he is used to dealing with fast team-mates. He’s cold, he studies, he can be very annoying for Charles.”
Can Carlos Sainz take the fight to Leclerc?
It's hard to put a pin on where Carlos Sainz stands on the competitive scale. He was clearly the better driver at McLaren when pit against Lando Norris. However, he didn't fare well against Nico Hulkenberg at Renault and was outperformed in his rookie season by Max Verstappen.
On his debut at Ferrari, he didn't look out of depth against Leclerc, despite admittedly not being entirely at home with the new car at his disposal. The Spaniard has made giant strides in terms of competitiveness in the last two years..
But will it be enough for him to put up a fight against Charles Leclerc? The Monegasque has no weaknesses in his driving style. The 23-year-old is an extremely quick qualifier and also boasts great racecraft. Will Carlos Sainz be able to grow out of his current No.2 role at Ferrari? Or will Leclerc maintain his standing in the team? Only time will tell.