Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz slammed by ex-F1 driver

Ralf Schumacher thinks Mercedes are more likely to take the fight to Red Bull than Ferrari.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher doesn’t think Ferrari are the “biggest contender” to take the fight to Red Bull this year, due to the “silly mistakes” often made by Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

There is no doubting that Leclerc and Sainz are exceptional drivers, with the duo having now been team-mates for three seasons.

Sainz was the only non-Red Bull driver to claim a win in 2023, whilst Leclerc featured on the rostrum six times.

However, amongst their top three finishes, too many errors were made by the duo, with Schumacher being left surprised at how often it happens.

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Leclerc in particular has made some very costly mistakes in recent years, most notably whilst leading the 2022 French Grand Prix.

The Monegasque infamously crashed out of the race lead, somewhat ending his slim title chances against Max Verstappen.

As for Sainz, he had a big crash in Free Practice 2 at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, through his own fault.

If they were to perform at their best week-in week-out, then Ferrari would be a real threat for Red Bull but Schumacher recognises that this isn’t likely to happen.

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The German believes that Mercedes are a more genuine contender to compete with the Austrians, although the brother of Michael Schumacher admits that he could be “wrong”.

Schumacher thinks Ferrari certainly could compete with Red Bull but it’s just too difficult to predict what Sainz and Leclerc are going to do.

“It could be possible, but both drivers, you never know what they’ll do,” Schumacher said on the Formula For Success podcast.

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“I mean they’re leading a race, they spin off or they’re crashing, not really into each other, but making silly mistakes, which very often surprises me.

“I think Fred [Vasseur, Ferrari team principal] is doing a good job as far, you can see now the group is growing together a bit better and less mistakes, very good pit stops, but in the moment, I would not see them as the biggest contender, but maybe I’m wrong.

“As it is, you will see at the first test or the first two races, then I think it’s easier to judge.”