Formula 1: Sainz disregards team orders

Given his maiden Formula 1 win, Carlos Sainz should be sleeping pretty well on the night of the Silverstone race. The question is whether the Spaniard will still have a good night’s rest after the next team meeting. Because the action in the safety car phase should still cause some discussions at the Scuderia.

There, Sainz had openly defied his team’s instructions. Before the restart, Ferrari asked him to keep ten vehicle lengths away from the leading Leclerc to give him some breathing room. Because Ferrari had not brought the Monegasque to the pits, so he was driving on old hard tires while the competition behind was on fresh softs.

But Sainz didn’t want to play the game: “Guys, I’m under pressure from Hamilton, please don’t ask me to do something like that, please, please, stop interfering,” was his answer on the radio.

Sainz didn’t comply and snatched up his teammate in a tough duel. Leclerc was then able to fend off Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton as well, but was still at a disadvantage and missed the podium for the fifth straight race, while Sainz won the race.

Sainz justifies himself

The Spaniard justifies himself: “I tried to explain to them that I probably have the fastest man on the track today (Lewis Hamilton; editor’s note) behind me,” he says. “If I leave ten meters space then I might lose some slipstream and if he overtakes me then Charles will be an easy victim too.”

Instead, Sainz also looked at his own race and was confident that he could take the lead going into Turn 6 on fresh tires. “If the team lets me do it, I’ll do it as cleanly as possible,” he says.

“Sometimes the feeling of a driver is there, and sometimes the team might tell you something you don’t agree with and you do your own thing because you really believe in it,” said Sainz. “But I have a lot of trust in the team and we drove a good race today. We trust each other in the different scenarios, as you saw.”

He emphasizes: “I have always been a team player and will always be a team player. Especially at Ferrari, the team is above my personal interests.”

Binotto “very happy” with Sainz’ behavior

Team boss Binotto saves himself from accusations against his pilot after the race – on the contrary. When asked if he was okay with Sainz not following the instructions, he said: “Not only is it okay, but I’m very happy with how Carlos behaved today.”

He praised Leclerc for letting himself go by beforehand and understood his announcement: “He didn’t say he didn’t want to do it, he said the guys behind him would be very aggressive and he had to protect himself,” he said Binotto.

He emphasizes: “We have complete trust. We know that he does his best for the team and of course for himself. He proved that a few laps earlier when he gave up his seat without a discussion. He didn’t discuss because he trusts the team completely. I’m very happy with the way he’s behaving.”

“There was probably no chance for him to keep some distance from Charles and I think he did his best to get Ferrari a win here at Silverstone,” said Binotto.

Leclerc reacts tight-lipped

The mood was very different with Charles Leclerc, who looked quite disappointed. Binotto spoke to him after the race with a raised index finger. We do not know whether he gave him instructions on how to behave before the media rounds and what exactly he said to him. Leclerc himself says that Binotto just wanted to cheer him up – nothing more.

At least Leclerc didn’t want to comment on his team’s decisions – not even on the various stable orders in this race. “I don’t want to comment on it. I would first like to discuss it with the team as to the reasons for this,” he says, emphasizing that during the safety car he did not demand that Sainz keep his distance.

He’s more annoyed by the situations before that, when he wasn’t immediately let past by the Spaniard: “I had the feeling that I was very strong in the first part of the race and lost some time. Would it have changed the end result? I don’t think so. But we we have to look at that for the future,” he says.

However, he admits: “We have to look at the big picture. I have my picture of my race and sometimes in the car you don’t have the big picture. I felt like in the first stint and at the beginning of the second stint I was too lost a lot of time. But that’s just my opinion and that may change once I’ve seen the big picture.”

Leclerc is annoyed with strategy

Above all, Leclerc is frustrated that the strategy once again didn’t work for him in the end. Because the decision not to pit during the safety car period cost him the win. He knew that as soon as he drove past the pit entrance. “But by then it was too late.”

He knows that with the problems of World Cup rival Max Verstappen there would have been a good opportunity to make up a lot of points. “But we don’t have that,” he says angrily.

But Leclerc also says that there should actually be other issues than his bad luck – namely Sainz’s maiden victory: “I don’t want the focus to be on my disappointing race, but on his incredible victory,” he clarifies.

“The first win is always extremely special. It’s great for the team, great for Carlos. He’s built up confidence in the past few races and showed that today. I’m happy for him, but I’m disappointed for myself. Mixed feelings “Leclerc said. “I hope that we can come back stronger at the next race.”

And what did Binotto tell him now? “I knew he was disappointed,” explains the team boss. “But I told him that he drove a fantastic race again. And the way he drove after the safety car and defended himself was fantastic and outstanding. So I just told him to stay calm because he drove fantastically.”

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