Charles Leclerc was buzzing after claiming a fourth-place finish for Ferrari at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix while teammate Carlos Sainz finished marginally ahead in P3 after an enthralling battle between the teammates.
Sainz managed to hold off Max Verstappen for an impressive 15 laps, before the Dutchman took the lead of the race, and flew off into the distance, claiming the checkered flag yet again.
It was a standout performance from both Ferrari drivers of Sainz and Leclerc, the former taking a hard-earned podium with P3, and the latter finishing close behind in fourth, after giving it all he had in the final stages of the race.
Apart from a win on home soil, under the circumstances of Red Bull’s dominance, the best possible result for Ferrari, who despite being very quick, were still no match for Verstappen and Sergio Perez with the mighty RB19 in full swing.
In the Ferrari’s media report from Monza, Leclerc reflected on a great day of racing: “It has been a while since I had that much fun in a race!
“The battles we had throughout were great, and Checo, Carlos and I were really close towards the end, which made for an exciting handful of closing laps. We had some free space behind us, so I just enjoyed it and pushed to the maximum.
“I hope that the tifosi enjoyed it as much as I did and a big thanks to them for all the support this weekend,” the Monegasque continued, “I hope that we will see more races like this to come and look forward to being back on track in Singapore.
It was bold but sporting for Ferrari to allow their drivers to race as they did
During the closing stages of the race, Ferrari allowed both drivers to race and battle for that podium spot, as long as no risks were taken.
All went well according to Leclerc, who spoke to Sky Sports F1 on his battle with Sainz at the end: “This is what racing should be all the time in my opinion. This reminds me of the karting days when we were all on the limits. With Max, we have had these battles in the past and with Carlos today, it was really on the limit.
“I personally really enjoyed it. There were so many moments were it was really tricky, but I don’t complain, this is why I love racing. The adrenaline you feel fighting each other, it was really fun.
“It was the limit from Carlos on the defending side, it was on the limit from me on the attacking side. It means so much to us to both be on the podium here, so we gave it our all,” the number 16 driver concluded.
It made for a nervous yet exciting show for the Tifosi, however the podium was on regardless for the Scuderia, so there was an evident risk of losing both cars here and ruining any chance of a podium at all.
Regardless, smiles all around for the Scuderia team and fans alike, with all going according to plan, as Red Bull were the only team to beat the Maranello side on the day.