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Leclerc: We are free to fight without taking stupid risks

Leclerc: We are free to fight without taking stupid risks

Leclerc: We are free to fight without taking stupid risks
Charles Leclerc is adamant that he and his teammate Carlos Sainz are allowed to fight on track free of any team orders, as long as they don’t take any stupid risks.

Ferrari has one of the most talented driver pairing in the 2022 Formula 1 grid, but it can potentially be one of the most explosive if not managed properly.

Leclerc is the product of the Ferrari driver academy, dubbed the chosen one within the team, especially after he dethroned Sebastian Vettel during their time together at Maranello.

But then came Carlos Sainz, who quietly went about his business, integrating himself in the team, and winning over the hearts of the team members as well as the Tifosi, scoring four podiums to Leclerc’s solitary last year, and finishing ahead of the Monegasque in the Drivers’ Championship.

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That might not be a problem in 2021, when the team was fighting for third in the Constructors’ Standings at best, but if the F1-75 turns out to be a winner – unlike the recent single seaters produced by the house of Maranello – then how will rules of engagement be between Leclerc and Sainz?

Leclerc insists he and Sainz are free to fight

Speaking to the media after the launch of the F1-75, Leclerc said that, should he and Sainz find themselves in close proximity on track, the are allowed to fight.

“Of course we’ve discussed it, I think it was yesterday or two days ago,” he said. “Yes, we are free to fight, obviously without taking any stupid risks because we are fighting for the team, and the ultimate goal is to bring Ferrari to the top.

“But we’ll be free to fight,” the 24-year-old insisted.

Ferrari team principal Mattie Binotto lauded his drivers for the openness and transparency they exercised when taking about the topic.

“From my point of view, I was very happy to see these two drivers in a fully open, transparent discussion, showing a level of maturity,” he said.

“As we proved last year, they are getting on well together, but it’s not only the way you can see it from outside. When approaching that kind of discussion, it can be very delicate.

“I think that both of them are really showing and proving a fantastic level of maturity, which I’m very happy with,” Binotto maintained.

Being beaten by your teammate hurts

Leclerc reflected on his defeat at the hands of his teammate in 2021, who did not take much time to make an impact at Ferrari, a mere few races into the season, the Monegasque hailing the Spaniard’s consistency.

“There are some opportunities that I’ve lost, sometimes by not being lucky, some others because of myself just wanting too much,” Leclerc revealed.

“I’m learning from it. I think one of the big strengths of Carlos is being here all the time. Every race, he’s always there.

“Myself, I can sometimes be a bit too optimistic, and last year this happened a few times, and it cost me a few points. So in the end, I paid the price and learned the lesson.

“It hurts, but I go forward. Now it’s [in the] past. It hurts in the moment, but when I look back on the season, I’m satisfied with myself,” Leclerc concluded.