Sainz’s Pace Boosts Leclerc’s Performance at Ferrari

Charles Leclerc expressed admiration for Carlos Sainz’s performance, acknowledging that his teammate’s impressive speed serves as a motivating factor for him to elevate his own game.

Sainz, who had been sidelined due to appendicitis surgery, made a triumphant return to the track at the Australian Grand Prix, securing a dominant victory for Ferrari.

Following Max Verstappen’s retirement due to a brake issue, Sainz faced minimal competition as he clinched the win in Melbourne. Leclerc, despite starting from fifth on the grid, managed to finish second behind Sainz, trailing by a margin of two-tenths and a half, driving the SF-24.

Although Leclerc executed an undercut strategy to overtake Lando Norris of McLaren and secure second place, he admitted to struggling with tire management during his second stint, particularly on the hard compound tires.

In the laps leading up to his second pit stop, Leclerc lost significant ground to Sainz, whose tires were fresher by seven laps.

When questioned about whether he could have done more to challenge Sainz for the win, Leclerc candidly admitted that it boiled down to his performance, stating, “Just being better. I think in qualifying yesterday, I haven’t been good enough.”

“In the second stint today, on the first hard stint, I had quite a bit of graining on the front left after the [virtual] safety car. The last stint was really good, but it wasn’t enough. So Carlos has just been better this weekend.

“But it’s been that in the last three years, where we basically will arrive at one race and Carlos will be better and then I’ll push and then I’ll be better at the next race and then we’ll improve like that. And that’s very exciting as a driver to have such a fast team-mate.”

In the 2025 Formula 1 driver market, Carlos Sainz finds himself as a free agent, with Ferrari opting to sign seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton to team up with Charles Leclerc moving forward.

The movements of Hamilton’s seat at Mercedes and Sergio Perez’s position at Red Bull are subjects of particular interest to Sainz as he assesses his options for the future.

Despite not always receiving top-tier recognition from the media, Sainz’s talent is not lost on his Ferrari teammate, Leclerc.

When asked about Sainz being underrated, Leclerc offered a differing perspective, stating, “I think everybody knows Carlos’ worth in the paddock. He’s one of the highest-rated drivers in the paddock.”

“He’s been extremely strong every time he was in a Formula 1 car. And he has showed it multiple times. So I don’t think he’s underrated for that.

“I think everybody knows Carlos’ worth. And that’s why I’ve said many times that I’m not too worried about his future because I’m sure that many, many team principals are…

“He doesn’t say it, but for sure they are speaking with him! And I’m sure he will have many opportunities and he’ll just have to make the best choice for his career.”