Carlos Sainz fires back at ‘completely wrong’ claim about him and Charles Leclerc

Carlos Sainz finished fifth in the 2022 drivers’ championship after an impressive second year with Ferrari.

Carlos Sainz’s move from McLaren to Ferrari was met with some scepticism prior to the 2021 season, with the Spaniard not impressing fans of the Scuderia during his time with McLaren.

The Spaniard finished above golden boy Charles Leclerc during his first season with Ferrari, but still was not receiving the credit or praise he deserved from the fans.

In 2022 the 28-year-old started slowly, with Sainz battling for podiums while his teammate was pushing, and often beating title favourite Max Verstappen.

Sainz did improve as the year progress, winning his first Grand Prix in Silverstone and picking up a number of pole positions, setting lap times that Leclerc simply could not match.

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Rumours have begun to circulate that Ferrari developed the SF-75 in a way that favoured his driving style rather than Leclerc’s, but Sainz has been quick to shut down these rumours, calling for the media to credit him on his improvement rather than looking for excuses. 

“I’ve read this somewhere, where the car developed more towards my style and I think it’s completely wrong,” claimed Sainz.

“The car feels exactly the same as the start of the season, we are just less quick compared to the Red Bulls and the Mercedes.

“I just learned how to drive it. I changed my driving style.

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“Personally, I finetuned the set-up a bit more towards my liking but the car didn’t develop in my direction or anything like that, so I hope this doesn’t get point out there because it is completely fake and is not the real story of the year.”

Ferrari will be looking to go in a completely different direction in 2023 following the resignation of team principal Mattia Binotto, and Sainz will be quietly confident of challenging his Monegasque teammate for the championship, as Ferrari hunt for their first title since 2008.

On a personal note, Sainz’s victory at Silverstone will have given him a taste for success, and with Red Bull handicapped by their cost cap breach punishment in 2023, there may be no better opportunity for the Spaniard to lay down a marker than next season.