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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Leclerc "didn't understand the point" of Sainz's early F1 Spanish GP attack

Monegasque says Ferrari Formula 1 duo were asked to save tyres early in the race and claims Sainz ignored that order

Charles Leclerc accused Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz of wanting to do "something spectacular" for his Formula 1 career as the two came to blows at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Sainz had a run on Leclerc at the end of the second lap and put a move on him into Turn 1 around the outside, as Leclerc sat at the inside kerb at the opening right hander.

Leclerc's front wing clipped Sainz's rear right wheel, and the Spaniard ended up taking to the escape road across the opening two corners - which put him ahead at the entry of Turn 3.

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Aggrieved by this, Leclerc says that the contact made his own race more difficult and suggested that Sainz simply wanted to impress at his home race and on the brink of crunch contract talks with other teams over his F1 future.

"We had a clear strategy at the beginning of the race with both to save tyres to attack later on," Leclerc explained.

"Carlos didn't do any saving in Turn 14 and of course had an opportunity to overtake me in Turn 1, which is a bit of a shame because we lost time between us.

"I damaged my front wing because of Carlos making the turn and not seeing I was inside and that made our race more difficult.

"I didn't understand the point of doing that when it was clearly stated before the race that we had to save in this part of the race.

"It's a bit unnecessary, but I also understand that it's his home race and it's also an important moment of his career so I guess he wanted to do something a bit spectacular. But I probably wasn't the right person to do that with."

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

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

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Leclerc stated that Ferrari "did not have enough pace" against the Mercedes duo to contend for a podium, a sentiment that Sainz agreed with following his home race.

Sainz ultimately ended up diverging onto a different strategy, progressing to a stint on the mediums and then ending on the hard, but he reckoned that the undercut strategy failed to offer much.

"[There was] no way to fight for that podium, but clearly the call of stopping early and going to the undercut route and anyway a medium-hard today didn't pay off," Sainz reflected.

"These tyres were just too slow today, and everyone else that went on the soft, medium, soft, were clearly faster. It just didn't pay off.

"In the race I think I mirrored a bit what Russell did and I was a tenth or two slower. Charles mirrored what Hamilton did and was one or two tenths slower.

"And then obviously, Red Bull and McLaren are clear step ahead. So yeah, not our best weekend."

Additional reporting Jonathan Noble and Filip Cleeren

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