SportF1Leclerc asks that another fight between Sainz and him...

Leclerc asks that another fight between Sainz and him not be repeated

Max Verstappen won Saturday’s sprint race at the Red Bull Ring after breaking away early from Leclerc and Sainz , second and third.

The Dutchman had some extra breathing room to control his pace at the front of the pack after Leclerc and Sainz got into an intense battle for second place in the opening laps.

In the end, after a tough battle between the two on lap 6, at both turn 3 and 4, saw Carlos Sainz lose ground and the opportunity to use DRS , Leclerc was able to ride in clean air in his pursuit of Verstappen. .

But with Verstappen already nearly three seconds behind at that point, there was little hope that the Monegasque driver could overtake his championship rival to claim victory.

As the pace gap between Red Bull and Ferrari looks small this weekend, and small margins are what make the difference, Leclerc says wasting time fighting Sainz to allow Verstappen to slip away cannot happen again.

“I think tomorrow is going to be a long race, and tire management will be quite a bit more important compared to today,” he said. “So tomorrow we probably can’t afford to do what we’ve done today.”

But despite his clear anger at losing time fighting Verstappen, Charles Leclerc doesn’t think the time lost fighting Sainz cost him victory.

“If that was enough for us not to get the win? I don’t think so, because Max was also managing tires once he got that gap ahead. So we’ll never know what would have happened. But yeah, that’s how we did it, that’s what there are”.

Sainz downplayed the fight between him and his teammate, recalling that in the end there was only one point of difference between being second and being third.

“I think today there was very little to gain or lose with that fight,” said the Spaniard. “We are talking about a point more or a point less, because in sprint races there are not many points at stake. And also Max seemed to have very much control throughout the race in the lead. So it is not that we have lost much.”

It was clear to both drivers that the decision to fight or not rested with team principal Mattia Binotto .

Asked about the need to fight freely against each other on Sunday, Leclerc said: “Yes, I don’t know the rules of fighting [between us]. Obviously it’s not us who decide. It will be more like Mattia.”

Sainz added: “It will be Mattia who decides, and the team, but it’s not like we lost much and it didn’t seem like Max was too afraid of our pace.”

“But yeah, we have to make sure we’re closer at the beginning of the stint and closer at the end of the stint. I think that’s what we have to try and do tomorrow.”

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