Sainz admits risk of ‘favouritism’ at Ferrari as Leclerc looks to become number 1 driver

Carlos Sainz is fifth in the Drivers' Championship after the first five rounds of the season, with team-mate Charles Leclerc leading the way.

Carlos Sainz has conceded that his adaptation to the F1-75 under the new technical regulations has been a difficult one, but maintained that there is no lead driver at Ferrari.

Sainz has been out-qualified and out-raced by Charles Leclerc in all five races so far in 2022, and his campaign has not been helped by major mistakes in Australia, Imola and Miami.

After two consecutive non-finishes and contact with a concrete barrier during practice in Florida though, the Spaniard strung together a good weekend when he qualified second to ensure Ferrari’s first one-two since 2019, and beat Sergio Perez to the podium as Max Verstappen took victory ahead of Leclerc.

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There has been plenty of speculation, however, that the Scuderia will eventually begin to prioritise the 24-year-old given that he now leads his team-mate by 51 points having won two races.

Sainz admits that he has not settled into the new car as quickly as he would have liked.

“In the past I have adapted well to all the cars, but this one is costing me a lot. It is more difficult than expected,” he told La Marca, quoted by

“It’s just part of a driver’s career – some cars that go very well for you and others that are more difficult. It’s not much, not much at all, but that little bit hurts because it’s what doesn’t allow me to get pole positions and victories so far.”

The 27-year-old knows that there is a possibility that he might eventually have to play second fiddle if he does not start winning races.

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However, it is early doors in 2022, and the dynamic at Ferrari is such that Sainz knows he will be continue to be given a fair shot by team principal Mattia Binotto.

“I know the rules there are, I know when there can potentially be favouritism and team orders,” he added.

“I know that we are in the sixth race with 17 to go and right now there is no number 1 and number 2 driver. We are still on equal terms. We are in a position where anything can still happen.

“I know what my options are, I know what my relationship is with Charles and with Mattia and that’s why I’m not worried.”

Ferrari have looked slightly behind Red Bull on race pace in both of the last two weekends, so they have brought upgrades to the Spanish Grand Prix – including a new floor, a diffuser and revised wings – that they hope can edge them back in front.

The 27-year-old is not altogether sure if they will have the desired effect, and he highlighted the importance of familiarising themselves with the new parts.

“I’m not going to give details but if you bring three things and the others also bring three, you stay where you are,” stated Sainz.

“We’ll see how the improvements go. It is important to understand them before taking them to the races and my first impression is that they are useful. They go in the direction of what I need.

READ: Ferrari to gain half-a-second via Barcelona upgrades

“But until we try them, we will not know.”

Sainz will be very keen to try and claim his maiden victory at his home race on Sunday after scoring points in all of the seven races he has contested in Barcelona.