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Ferrari F1 drivers split over China sprint race clash talks

Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have given different takes on if they have cleared the air over their Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix sprint race battle.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Immediately after the sprint race Leclerc said he wanted to speak to team-mate Sainz about his “over the limit” defensive driving when the pair appeared to clash at Turn 14.

Speaking after grand prix qualifying later on Saturday in Shanghai, Leclerc stated he had spoken to his fellow Ferrari driver to clear the air.

“Yes, it is all done and it is all good. No problems,” Leclerc said.

“I am not going to disclose all the details of our discussions because it is always private discussions and it should remain private but the discussions went well and we are all fine.”

However, in his own media briefing, Sainz appeared to contradict Leclerc while blaming the new sprint race weekend schedule for preventing them from having an in-depth discussion.

“The reality is that we didn't manage to talk, because obviously with this format it's not like you get time to talk with each other much,” Sainz said. “We will probably do so tonight.”

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Despite the incident, both drivers appear eager to move on after the frantic Chinese GP sprint race and focus on Sunday’s grand prix, in which Leclerc starts sixth and Sainz seventh.

“There's nothing spicy about it. There's nothing to say or do,” Sainz said. “I think we were racing really hard in the sprint. We were racing very hard also some of the other cars, and I didn't complain.

“It's just a matter of obviously keeping as much space as possible to your team-mate, which I will always try to do and I've always done in my career.

“It's just, yeah, I was in a bad spot there after the car damage from Fernando, the floor was completely broken, a lot of dirt on my tyres, so it's not like I could have done a lot.”

Moments before the Turn 14 flashpoint between the Ferrari pair, which was noted by the FIA stewards but not investigated, Sainz was battling with Fernando Alonso and the pair made light contact at Turn 7 and again at Turn 9.

The latter incident landed the Aston Martin driver a post-sprint race 10-second penalty and three penalty points.

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