Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Leclerc: Sainz “over the limit” with defence in F1 Chinese GP sprint race

Charles Leclerc felt Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz went “over the limit” in defence during the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix as the pair glanced blows.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

In a DRS train behind Fernando Alonso, the battle erupted when Sainz attacked the Aston Martin driver around the outside of Turn 7, which invited both Serigo Perez and Charles Leclerc into the fight.

After Alonso picked up a puncture in contact with Sainz, as the pair touched in Turn 7 before both going wide following further contact at Turn 9 to allow Perez to fly past, there was an all-Ferrari incident at the Turn 14 hairpin when the pair appeared to clash.

Both Ferraris made it to the finish, with Leclerc fourth and Sainz fifth, and the Monegasque made his feelings clear over team radio straight after the chequered flag.

“Let’s speak. We’re fighting more... he’s fighting me more than the others,” Leclerc said.

After the Chinese GP sprint, when asked if he felt Sainz’s defending against him crossed a line, Leclerc told Sky Sports F1: “I think so but to be honest I have also crossed a line myself in the past and when this happens we normally have a discussion, we clear the air.

“We went through that in the past and it went really well so I have no worries that it will also be the case this weekend. But he went a bit over the limit.

“Contact between us two being in a different race situation, because I had saved quite a bit with the tyres and I had a good pace at the end, so it is a bit of a shame that we lost that gap to Perez and couldn’t overtake him.

“P4, it could’ve been P3, one point, you can always do better but we will focus on this afternoon because this will be the game-changer, having a good qualifying which hasn’t been the case for me in the last few races.”

Sainz said he was happy to apologise if his defending against Leclerc was considered too aggressive as he explained his earlier fight with Alonso contributed to the issue.

“Behind Fernando, I did a really good move around the outside of Turn 7 and from then on he decided to be a bit all or nothing into me into Turn 9 which cost us both in the race,” Sainz told Sky Sports F1.

“I picked up damage and a lot of dirt on my tyres from that optimistic move. From there on I was sliding around with damage to the car and dirt on my tyres.

“I was doing everything I could to defend and sliding around so maybe had a bit of a moment with Charles but I apologise if I did something over the limit. But we were all racing really hard today and I was trying my best to keep it under control.”

Giving his take on the Sainz battle, Alonso added: “It was tough racing and a couple of corners parallel to each other, wheel to wheel battle, and at the end, someone has to give up.

“I gave up the racing line at Turn 8 to avoid contact and he didn’t give up in Turn 9 and we didn’t avoid the contact.

“But in the sprint race there are only a few points in play and our natural position is seventh or eighth so it is not many points. It is a shame not to finish but we lost not too many points.”

Sainz and Alonso have been placed under investigation for their Turn 7 clash which will be reviewed by the stewards ahead of Chinese GP qualifying.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article 2024 F1 Chinese GP sprint results: Verstappen wins from fourth on grid
Next article Hamilton: Norris would have been better off conceding in Turn 1

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe