“I prefer not to comment” - Carlos Sainz reacts to Charles Leclerc’s Lap 1 defence

Tension continues to brew at Ferrari following an aggressive Lap 1 defence from Charles Leclerc at the Chinese Grand Prix.

(L to R): Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari and Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari on the drivers' parade. Formula 1 World
(L to R): Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari and Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari…

Carlos Sainz blamed Charles Leclerc for their poor start on the opening lap of the Chinese Grand Prix.

The two Ferraris lost out to George Russell and Nico Hulkenberg through the opening sequence of corners in Shanghai.

It appeared that Leclerc ran Sainz off the track, getting revenge for the pair’s intense battle in the sprint race.

Reflecting on the events of the opening lap, Sainz felt it was “clear” that Leclerc’s defending cost both of them crucial track position.

“I prefer not to comment,” Sainz told Sky Sports F1. “But it’s obviously quite clear that it cost us both two positions so it helped neither of us.

“Given what our pace was today, better than P5 was impossible. We had a poor start with the situation there in turns one and two that cost both cars two positions, from then on we were just playing catch-up.

“We had to box very early for the hards and then we had to one-stop from lap 18, something like this and just went forever on the hard tyre which we never going to go much more forward on.

“At least we saved P5, which given the pace of the car this weekend and the decisions we took, the situation at the start it was the maximum we could achieve.”

Giving his view on the incident, Leclerc felt it was typical Lap 1 racing.

“It was the start. It’s always difficult with the tyres. It’s like this,” he explained.

Sainz looking for upgrades

It was a disappointing day for Ferrari in the context that they were well beaten by McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Sainz is hopeful Ferrari’s highly-anticipated major upgrade will give them the pace they need to move forward.

“I think McLaren was just stronger this weekend,” Sainz added. “There's nothing really to comment except they just were faster in every conditions, qualifying and race.

“I think there’ll be tracks where we’re stronger, tracks where the McLaren is stronger, we just need to go track by track and wait for that famous upgrade that will hopefully give us more performance.”

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