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‘He complains too much’ – Sainz and Leclerc at odds over Barcelona clash

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Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari fter the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were left at odds with each other following an eventful Spanish Grand Prix which featured contact between the pair, split strategies and team orders.

The two Ferrari cars finished where they started in Spain, with Leclerc coming home in fifth ahead of Sainz in sixth, but the pair offered very different post-race opinions on their early tussle on track.

READ MORE: Verstappen pinpoints moment that ‘made my race’ after beating Norris to Spanish GP win

Leclerc had initially been ahead on track, and was looking to save tyres early on in the race, when he found himself squeezed on the inside by Sainz into Turn 1 on Lap 3 of 66. The two briefly made contact before the Spaniard skewed off-track, as he took the position to boot.

“It’s a shame as the team had told us before the race to save the tyres at this moment in this race and I was doing exactly that in the last corner, which is a really good corner to save,” said a disgruntled Leclerc.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 23: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari SF-24 and Charles

Leclerc and Sainz clashed early on in the race, making contact to boot

“And we knew that we had to both save, and Carlos used that one lap pushing in [Turn] 14 and was very close to me and overtook, which was fine, but he obviously did the corner like I was not there.

“It’s a bit of a shame but anyway we will speak internally, it’s not a big deal, I understand it’s his home race and a very important moment of his career and he wanted to do something spectacular, and I probably wasn’t the right person to do that with.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from a thrilling Spanish Grand Prix as Verstappen beats Norris and Hamilton

Leclerc continued to point out that the incident had cost him some car damage, which when the margins were so tight, could have made all the difference, with the Ferrari man running out of time to chase down George Russell late on after his team mate had let him back past.

“It’s okay, I think he’ll see the image and he’ll understand that I was on the inside and that he couldn’t turn in at that point,” was the Monegasque’s final assessment.

‘It’s a shame’ – Leclerc explains early race contact with team mate Sainz

That wasn’t a view shared by Sainz though, when he was asked about the same incident post-race.

“I think too many times he complains after a race about something. Obviously hot, he might think that,” Sainz said. “Honestly at this point of the season I don’t know. I was on the attack, we were on a new soft, Mercedes were on a used soft and we had to go on the attack in the first laps when you are on a new tyre and try to pass them, like we said even before the race.

“I passed Charles because I don’t know if he did a mistake or he was managing a bit too much.”

READ MORE: Hamilton hails ‘the best weekend I’ve had all year’ after Barcelona podium as he defends Sainz lunge

Sainz’s main frustration post-race wasn’t the battle with his team mate, however, but the strategy calls which cost him a chance to finish higher.

He had at various points of the race been ahead of both his team mate and Lewis Hamilton, and he even nearly picked off Russell in the pit stops.

2024 Spanish Grand Prix: Hamilton pushes past Sainz with forceful move at Turn 1

“I went on [after overtaking Leclerc] and I nearly passed Lewis, we undercut Lewis and we nearly passed Russell at the pit stops so I think I was trying out there what I have to try as a driver, what is required of me as a driver and [Leclerc] elected to manage more.

“In the end, for him it kind of paid as he beat me at the end with a soft-medium-soft. For me, I elected to be aggressive with a soft-medium-hard and it didn’t pay off. It is what it is.”

READ MORE: Norris claims he ‘should have won’ Spanish GP after tardy race start ‘ruined everything’

Leclerc has now slipped behind Lando Norris in the drivers' championship, the McLaren man two points ahead after he finished second in Spain and picked up the fastest lap bonus point. And Ferrari don't have long to cool things off between their drivers, with Austria coming up just next weekend.

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