RTL pundit Allard Kalff believes Carlos Sainz has become Ferrari’s “team leader”, with the Spaniard starting to make his own decisions, whilst Charles Leclerc continues to do exactly as he’s instructed.
Sainz became the first non-Red Bull driver this season to claim victory, following a sensational display of concentration at the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend.
The Spaniard has been a different driver since he claimed pole position at the recent Italian Grand Prix, with him having built some serious momentum.
He continued his mesmeric form by securing back-to-back pole positions, after defeating George Russell to P1.
As a result, Sainz was given preferential treatment by Ferrari in the race, whilst Leclerc was put on a strategy to protect his team-mate.
Sainz led from start to finish to secure just his second F1 victory, whereas Leclerc had to settle for fourth.
The Monegasque had asked to pit for fresh tyres during a VSC at the Marina Bay Circuit, but respected Ferrari’s decision when they rejected his request.
This momentarily promoted Leclerc to third; however, he was quickly overtaken by Russell and Lewis Hamilton who had pitted from fresh tyres under the VSC.
Leclerc has had a tendency to do exactly what the team say, whereas Sainz has started to make some of his own calls.
Just recently at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Sainz rejected Ferrari’s call to pit for Hard tyres, as he could see that Leclerc was struggling on the compound.
These small details are showing a real shift in the Ferrari campaign, especially as Leclerc has always been viewed as the team’s golden boy.
“I think Sainz might be more of a team leader than Charles Leclerc. The way he [Sainz] talks on the radio, the way he takes matters into his own hands,” Kalff told Motorsport.com.
“Remembering Hungary, then Leclerc was sent on track with the hard tyre and it didn’t work.
When they said to Sainz ‘You come in for a hard tyre’, he said: ‘Yes, but it doesn’t work for Leclerc so I don’t want to use it either. Just do something else’.
“Then you are a team leader.
“I think the fact that he is winning now is fantastic and that he is doing it this way is also fantastic.”