Leclerc & Sainz 'working well', share 'similar feeling' in new Ferrari

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Charles Leclerc says he and Carlos Sainz are "working well" together and share a "similar feeling" of the new 2021 Ferrari.

After a tricky two years alongside Sebastian Vettel with occasional flashpoints, the Spaniard was brought in to settle the Scuderia as they focus on returning to the front of the Formula 1 grid.

Indeed, with Leclerc having built up a very close relationship with Ferrari through his years in the Academy and then into F1, it was suggested Sainz would simply play a support role to the Monegasque.

“While I have more experience with Ferrari than Carlos has, I don’t think there is a clear leader,” Leclerc said pre-season testing earlier this month.

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“I think Mattia [Binotto, team boss] made it clear, and that’s good. I am here in Formula 1 to fight against the best and I think Carlos is extremely talented and we will just push each other to perform better every time we are on track.

“But yeah, as the team mentioned, there’s no clear No. 1 or No. 2.”

In fact, since Sainz arrived, the emphasis has been building the kind of relationship the 26-year-old had with Carlos Sainz at McLaren, something that was credited for helping the team make the progress it has. 

“I think I’ve never spent as much time as I did with him before I started the season, as I did with other teammates,” added Leclerc. “We are getting on very well and working well together.

“He’s also very talented and it’s interesting to see the data now that he’s in the car and comparing it.

“With Carlos, we seem to have a very similar feeling of the car, very similar comments, so we are going in the same direction, both of us with our comments.

“Carlos is bringing experience from other teams, that is very interesting and that is also giving us new roads to explore," he added.

“The mentality of the team itself is still as motivated as last year and really willing to push to better things, better days coming soon.”

On that last point, Leclerc reflected on how Ferrari has refocused after going from the high of arguably the quickest car at times during 2019, to the lower midfield last season.

“I think at first there was a strange atmosphere, at first in 2020 when we realised the reality of things that was quite a lot worse than we expected and there was a time where it was not," he said.

“But very quickly, the mentality changed and now there is a huge motivation to try and come back where we want to be.”