Charles Leclerc claims Ferrari ‘changed their mind’ on controversial decision

Charles Leclerc asked his team if he could swap positions with Carlos Sainz in the latter stages of the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Ferrari have experienced a rather disappointing capitulation to the 2022 season, with it initially looking like Charles Leclerc and Ferrari would be able to mount a serious challenge for both championships, even looking the favourite at points.

A catalogue of errors, combined with Red Bull’s improvement in performance had seen those title hopes slip away early into the second half of the season, but Leclerc is still on the hunt for a consolation by finishing as runner up in the drivers’ championship.

The Monegasque driver finds himself in a very close battle with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and is in need of every point he can get his hands on, with the pair now neck and neck going into Abu Dhabi.

Red Bull’s team order drama has been well publicised, as Max Verstappen refused to let his teammate through, however Ferrari had a similar, albeit less tense situation of their own to handle in the latter stages of the race.

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Leclerc requested over the team radio that Carlos Sainz gave up his podium position to him, as the points would make a huge difference in his battle with Perez, but was swiftly rejected by his team who suggested it was too risky with Fernando Alonso so close behind.

The 25-year-old has now spoken out about his request for team orders, suggesting that it is out of character for him to ask a teammate to give up a podium for him, and he only did so because it had been discussed before the race.

“I don’t normally ask these types of things,” claimed Leclerc.

“But we had these discussions prior to the race, so that’s why I asked about it. For some reason we changed our mind on that – I don’t know yet, the reason.”

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Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle has argued that maybe the team would have acted differently if Sainz was not in a podium position, suggesting that it would be extremely harsh to deny a driver a podium regardless of the circumstances.

Leclerc and Perez will now enter a straight shoot off in Abu Dhabi, with whichever driver finishes higher claiming that runner up spot in the drivers’ championship.

Ferrari will also be hoping for a positive result to ward off Mercedes, as the Silver Arrows have closed the gap even further as they look to leapfrog the Scuderia right at the death.