Former Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg has voiced his concerns about the intense battle between Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc during the Italian Grand Prix, suggesting that the rivalry went beyond acceptable limits.
Sainz, who had valiantly defended against Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, was left in a precarious position as he fought to maintain his third-place position at Monza.
His teammate, Leclerc, relentlessly pursued him throughout the race, creating a dramatic spectacle for fans.
In the end, Sainz successfully held off Leclerc to secure a well-deserved podium finish.
However, there has been criticism that their battle posed a risk to the overall team result.
At one point, Leclerc locked up his tires while entering turn one, narrowly avoiding a collision with Sainz, which could have had disastrous consequences for Ferrari on their home circuit, where fan expectations run high.
The third and fourth-place finishes by Sainz and Leclerc marked one of their strongest performances of the season.
If not for the remarkable speed of the Red Bull drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, the Ferrari duo might have been in contention for the race win.
Nico Rosberg, reflecting on the situation, emphasised the importance of team cohesion in Formula One.
He stated, “I’m not sure what’s going on between Charles and Carlos.
‘It’s a bit strange.
“Charles said he had such a nice fight, and he’ll have a beer with Carlos.”
However, Rosberg expressed reservations about their approach, saying, “I’m not sure about that.
“Seriously, Carlos on one of those occasions was over the limit.”
Rosberg’s comments carry weight, given his own experience as a teammate in intense championship battles, notably against Lewis Hamilton.
Their rivalry often resulted in contact on the track, including an incident at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix where they collided, much to the chagrin of their team boss, Toto Wolff.
Despite the intense battle between Sainz and Leclerc, both Ferrari drivers have reason to be proud of their performance at Monza, especially considering the car’s underperformance for much of the 2023 season.
Their impressive straight-line speed showcased in Monza could help improve their season’s record, which currently stands at just four podium finishes in the first 14 races.