Carlos Sainz could soon “start to irritate” Charles Leclerc at Ferrari if he is able to start putting him under pressure and potentially emerge as the Scuderia’s number one driver, 1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve has said.
Sainz, who raced with McLaren in 2020, joined Ferrari this campaign after they axed four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
The German was comprehensively outperformed by Leclerc last year, but Sainz will be hoping he can outscore the Monegasque this campaign and become Ferrari’s number one driver.
Villeneuve believes that Sainz is in with a chance of beating Leclerc, as he has experience and has previously raced alongside difficult-to-beat team-mates.
“Carlos has never been in such an important team,” Villeneuve said in an interview with the Italy-based Corriere dello Sport newspaper.
“He has developed himself over time and comes in with experience. Moreover, he is used to dealing with fast teammates. That can start to irritate Charles.”
Ferrari’s 2021 car and power unit look much stronger than their predecessors, and the Maranello-based team had a comparatively strong showing at the season-opener in Bahrain last month.
Specifically, Sainz finished his first race with Ferrari in eighth position, two places behind Leclerc.