“It was my idea”: Charles Leclerc ‘hurt’ by teammate Carlos Sainz’s decision to copy strategy en route sole Ferrari 2023 win

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has admitted that the low point for him in the recently concluded 2023 season was seeing his teammate Carlos Sainz win the Singapore Grand Prix.

Apart from the fact that he wasn’t the one to break Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s dominant form, what really disappointed and ‘hurt’ Leclerc was the fact that Sainz used the strategy that was initially his idea.

Charles Leclerc. Credit: thesportsrush.com
Charles Leclerc. Credit: thesportsrush.com

Verstappen dominated the 2023 season like no other driver has in the history of F1, and along with Perez, the duo managed to win all but one race across the calendar.

The only race that Red Bull collectively missed out on was the Singapore Grand Prix, where Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz bagged top honours.

One may think that it would elicit some sort of positivity from the team, but as far as Leclerc was concerned, it ‘hurt’ him.

“That hurts, especially in a season like this, in which there was only this one chance” Leclerc said.

“That’s where I didn’t get the qualification right, which ultimately cost me the race. But it was absolutely important for the team because, as a team, we did everything right.

“The thing with the soft tyres was my idea. Not to help Carlos. But because it was the best thing for our race. In moments like this, you have to accept that the team comes first. They would do the same for me if I was ahead.”

Although Ferrari was the only other team to see one of its drivers win a Grand Prix, their lack of consistency meant that Mercedes eventually finished the season behind Red Bull in second place.

“It wasn’t an outstanding season because our car wasn’t as good as expected,” Leclerc said.

“On the other hand, we also learned a lot for 2024. And that’s the best thing you can expect in a difficult year.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to change much this season, but in the medium term we are now able to take a step forward. I myself am reasonably satisfied with myself.

“The characteristics of this car did not actually match my driving style.

“We worked on this during the season and slowly found a direction that suits me better. Especially the new underbody in Japan helped me. The front axle is now biting better again.

“On the negative side are some defects at the beginning of the season and of course the disqualification in Austin.”

Read more: Maria Sharapova outlines jaw-dropping reaction to seeing Lewis Hamilton ‘drained’ before pivotal Grand Prix

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