Carlos Sainz on P2, Charles Leclerc on P3 on the starting grid at the Hungarian Grand Prix – and many are wondering: Is there a crack in the first corner between the Ferrari drivers? Or is there perhaps a stable order to prevent exactly that? But this seems to be less of an issue within the team than for observers from outside.
Ferrari has been criticized by the media and many fans for not having committed to Leclerc as the number 1 driver for 2022. Sainz is currently fourth in the World Cup, 26 points behind Leclerc. This corresponds to the points for victory and fastest race lap in a single weekend.
“Our goal is always first and foremost the best result for the team. Ferrari comes first,” says sporting director Laurent Mekies. “But of course we could eventually reach a point where we focus more on one rider than the other, should the World Championship starting position require that.”
Stable orders before arithmetical decision?
The point at which a team order could be given for the first time does not necessarily have to have come when the other driver no longer has any mathematical chances for the World Championship: “That will happen at the point from which we think it’s right,” says mekies
First of all, it’s about winning the race in Mogyorod near Budapest. Positive: Max Verstappen (Red Bull) is only in P10 in qualifying due to a technical problem, and that on a track where overtaking is considered difficult. Negative: With George Russell (Mercedes), an unexpected opponent is on pole position.
Sainz is brimming with optimism
“I think we have the pace,” said Sainz optimistically. “Start and tire management will play a key role as always. Mercedes’ race pace is a big unknown. We don’t know if they will be as fast as in qualifying. If we can get George at the start, all the better.”
“Our goal is to win the race. We don’t focus too much on where Max is because for us the points in the World Championship are important. The best way to do that is to look at ourselves and try to finish the race win. It doesn’t matter where Max finishes,” says Sainz.
Leclerc believes “that Max will need a little bit from tenth place until he’s up there”. Especially since the championship leader has to get past opponents like Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris before he can get close to the Ferraris.
Are the tires becoming a problem?
Incidentally, they attributed the lost pole position to inconsistent tires, among other things. But Leclerc can imagine that it will be different in the race: “We have to be able to adapt to changing conditions. I had problems with the tires in qualifying, but the race is a completely different thing.”
Leclerc expects “between one and three” pit stops – a forecast that caused laughter from journalists in the press conference room. Until Russell interjected that Leclerc is probably even serious. “The performance is there,” Leclerc is certain. “We’re fast. Hopefully we can make up positions.”
Neither of them want to deal with the topic of internal team agreements: “We only look at ourselves. Of course we don’t take any risks between the two of us. But otherwise there is no need for any agreements,” says Leclerc. Sainz nods: “There’s nothing to add to that.”