Formula 1 Racing

Leclerc admits Sainz ‘did a better job all weekend’ after Ferrari one-two · RaceFans

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Charles Leclerc admits he doubts he would have been able to challenge team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr for victory in the Australian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari drivers finished first and second, Leclerc following his team mate, who led most of the race after Max Verstappen’s early retirement.

Leclerc had been like the quicker of the two Ferrari drivers during practice, but was beaten by Sainz in qualifying and in the race. He admitted Sainz had done a better job of looking after his tyres in the race.

Sainz’s victory is his first since the surgery which kept him out of the previous race in Saudi Arabia. “Carlos has had an incredible weekend to come back after his surgery and he’s done an amazing race,” Leclerc said.

“On my side, I struggled a bit more in the second stint with the first hards. I didn’t manage the tyres well, but then the last stint was more positive. But first and second [place] was the best we could do.”

Leclerc was chased by the McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri early on before pulling away as the race progressed. Asked if he felt he could have offered any challenge to his team mate for the win, Leclerc said “not really.”

“In the first stint we had protect from behind. So we had to stop a bit earlier and then from that moment onwards, Carlos was very fast and with my tyres, I was struggling. So I think that as soon as we stopped , then for me it was clear.

“But again, Carlos has done a better job all weekend – at least from qualifying to the race – and he definitely deserves that victory. So I’m really happy for him and I’m really happy for the team.

“It’s really good points. We came into the weekend telling ourselves that we need to maximise our points and there’s nothing we could have done better. So really happy about this.”

Sainz’s victory was Ferrari’s second in the last 12 months. Leclerc said he was happy that Ferrari have returned to the top step of the podium once again.

“It feels good,” he said. “Mostly for the team, of course.

“First and second hasn’t happened since Bahrain 2022, which are very good memories we have. It’s amazing to be able to do that.”

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