Ferrari will have one of the strongest driver line-ups on the F1 grid this upcoming season, with Carlos Sainz joining Charles Leclerc at the Scuderia.
Leclerc is about to enter his third season in Formula One with Ferrari, while Sainz is joining them after breaking into the pinnacle of motorsport with Toro Rosso before switching to McLaren for a couple of seasons.
Speaking less than two weeks ahead of the 2021 season-opener in Bahrain, Leclerc said he wants to make sure he avoids doing anything “stupid” with his new Ferrari team-mate.
“We are about the same age, we have the same interests,” Leclerc said of Sainz.
“It promises to be a lot of fun. We get on really well and we can’t wait to be able to fight on the track, without doing too much stupid things together.
“It’s going very, very well with Carlos. I don’t think I’ve spent as much time with him as with any other team-mate. We are very motivated,” he added.
Leclerc had a number of on-track incidents with Sebastian Vettel in the two years they were Ferrari team-mates, most notably when they collided at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix and wrecked both of their races.
In the same interview this week, Leclerc said he “learned a lot” last season despite Ferrari enduring their worst campaign in four decades.
“It was important for me to prove that even in a difficult season like that, I gave my best on track,” Leclerc said.
“Yes, there were mistakes and it won’t be the last ones for sure, but I learned a lot.
“Every time I do a mistake, I analyse why and what I have to do, so that it won’t happen again. So I learned a lot in 2020.
“My objective remains exactly the same as before, I always have to give 200% when I’m in the car, bringing the car to the highest as possible. That was the case last year and it is still the case. My mentality hasn’t changed, my motivation remains the same.
“I’m highly motivated. The team has to fight for wins and at the very least for podiums.
“This gives me a lot of motivation to try to push everyone in Maranello, to work in the right direction and to get back to where we want to be, which is in a winning position,” Leclerc concluded.
Earlier this year, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto insisted that Ferrari won’t go into the 2021 season with a designated number one driver, so Sainz will be free to race against Leclerc and won’t simply serve as his rear-gunner.