Charles Leclerc critical of Carlos Sainz for “over the limit” defence in China sprint

Charles Leclerc labelled Carlos Sainz's defence in the China sprint race as "over the limit".

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China, Sprint
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5,…

Charles Leclerc wasn’t impressed by Carlos Sainz’s “over the limit” defence in the sprint race for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Leclerc attempted to overtake his teammate into the hairpin following an intense battle involving Sainz, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez.

As Leclerc attempted to go around the outside of his teammate, Sainz broke even later, pushing the Monegasque off the track.

Leclerc soon got past - but was disgruntled by Sainz’s defence over the team radio.

“Let’s speak after. He fighting more me than others,” Leclerc told Ferrari on the radio after the race.

Reflecting on their clash, Leclerc felt that Sainz went too far.

“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,” he said.

“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 today 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 gamechanger, having a good qualifying which hasn’t been the case for me in the last few races.”

The incident was fairly inconsequential as the stewards decided to take no action on it.

When asked about the incident, Sainz apologised for it.

“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 added.

“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 by best to keep it under control.”

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