Charles Leclerc says Carlos Sainz should be thanking him

Ferrari fought hard in Singapore to deliver a strong result for the Italian team, as they took their first victory of the season in a tight finish.

In a strategic move that played a pivotal role in Ferrari’s success at the Singapore Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc opted for soft tires, and this calculated decision ultimately contributed to teammate Carlos Sainz’s triumph on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. 

Leclerc, who initially led the race, provided crucial insights into his race-day strategy, which had the primary goal of securing Ferrari’s first victory of the year.

Leclerc’s start on the soft tires propelled him ahead of George Russell at the race’s outset, giving Ferrari a promising 1-2 lead in the initial phase. 

However, a pivotal moment in the race occurred on Lap 20 when a Safety Car was deployed due to Logan Sargeant’s incident. 

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This forced Leclerc to queue up, resulting in him losing positions to Russell and Lando Norris.

In a post-race interview, Leclerc candidly acknowledged that winning the race was not his primary aim. 

Instead, he revealed that aiding his teammate, Carlos Sainz, in securing Ferrari’s elusive win for the season took precedence. 

Leclerc explained his change of strategy at the last minute, stating, “Honestly, this wasn’t the plan. 

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“Since this morning, things have been very, very clear, and that’s why I went on the soft.”

He further elaborated on his decision, saying, “I changed my mind very last minute just to make sure that I was in front of George in the first stint because then it was really clear it was beneficial for Carlos because obviously he was making the gap.” 

This strategic manoeuvre showcased the teamwork and synergy within the Ferrari camp.

However, Leclerc’s race took an unexpected turn due to ill-timed Safety Car periods.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t been very lucky with the Safety Cars. 

“That meant I had to wait inside the pits for traffic, and there I basically lost the race,” Leclerc lamented. 

Despite these setbacks, Leclerc emphasised that the win remained the top priority, and effective race management by the team played a crucial role in their success.

During the latter stages of the race, Leclerc briefly held the third position before eventually slipping down to fifth. 

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Notably, Ferrari made a key decision to keep Leclerc out during the Virtual Safety Car period, while Mercedes opted to pit George Russell and Lewis Hamilton for new medium tires, setting the stage for a thrilling battle for victory.

Leclerc recounted the challenges he faced, stating, “Then on the Hards, I was trying my best, and then as soon as George and Lewis passed me, it was all about bringing the car to the end.” 

He attributed the loss of pace to overheating issues with the car but commended the team’s earlier race management, which had put them in a competitive position.