Leclerc dismisses reports of Ferrari tensions after Sainz's Silverstone win

By Sports Desk July 07, 2022

Charles Leclerc has dismissed suggestions of tensions within the Ferrari camp after enduring a frustrating outing as team-mate Carlos Sainz won the British Grand Prix last week.

But the 24-year-old maintains his team could have made better decisions after he fell out of contention to finish fourth at Silverstone.

Leclerc sits third in the drivers' championship standings going into Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix, trailing Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez after several underwhelming results.

The Ferrari driver has struggled since winning two of the first three races of the 2022 campaign, failing to secure a podium finish in any of his last five outings after doing so in four of his first five this season.

Leclerc had led at Silverstone before Ferrari chose not to pit him for fresh tyres during a late safety car period, allowing Sainz to clinch the first victory of his Formula One career.

Italian press reports claimed some of Leclerc's engineers subsequently refused to take part in a group photo to celebrate Sainz's win, but the Monegasque driver has told Sky Sports F1 there are no divisions within the team.

"It is a shame to see all of this type of things," Leclerc said in Austria.

"It is definitely not what is happening inside the team. We are a very united team, we've always been, and it's not these difficult races that will make it change.

"Were we disappointed after last weekend? I think we were because we were one-two, and we finished one-four, so part of the team were disappointed. But this was definitely not the reason whatsoever for not everybody being on the picture.

"Everyone was very happy for Carlos, and this is the feeling that there is inside the team.

"One of the strong points we have as team-mates and as drivers [is] a team spirit that we have in Ferrari and these things are always under control."

But Leclerc was still not entirely happy with the team's strategy last time out, adding: "There are things we could have done better.

"But we know where we did the mistakes and I hope we can grow from that.

"Me personally, there's nothing I could have done differently in a way. As a team, we have changed a few things already, just in the way of communication throughout the race, to be ready in that particular moment.

"Once a safety car is out, you need to take a decision there, and if you are not ready for that, it's tricky."

Ferrari have slipped to a distant second in the constructors' standings after Red Bull recorded three one-twos in the last seven races, Verstappen claiming six victories in that time.

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    Sergio Perez has apologised following a second successive retirement at the Canada Grand Prix which left him 87 points behind Red Bull team-mate, Max Vertsappen.

    The 34-year-old remained fifth overall in the world championship and a point behind Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who was one of five drivers that failed to finish the race. 

    In difficult conditions in Montreal, the Mexican started 16th but hopes of climbing up the pecking order soon faded after damaging his car's front wing on the opening lap when he made contact with Alpine's Pierre Gasly.

    He then crashed into the barriers late in the day after losing control on a damp kerb at turn six, hobbling back to the pits with a broken rear wing. 

    "I'm very sorry for my team, I let them down today. But we will come back no doubt. There’s a very long way to go," Perez said on social media.

    His final incident cost him a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Barcelona, with the stewards punishing him for a breach of the safety rules that require a driver to stop if the car is unsafe.

    "The incident was on me, I touched the wet part into turn six and I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t touch the brakes," Perez said on Sunday.

    "It has been a very tough couple of weekends, we will regroup, keep our heads down and learn from the weekend. We identified a couple of issues after qualifying and they meant we would have qualified a lot higher.

    "Hopefully we can be back to our form in Spain and get back to the level we were at earlier in the season. I am confident in that, there are good tracks coming for us."

    Perez recently signed a new two-year deal with Red Bull, ending speculation that the world champions will sign free agent Sainz ahead of the new season. 

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    He then crashed into the barriers late in the day after losing control on a damp kerb at turn six, hobbling back to the pits with a broken rear wing. 

    "I'm very sorry for my team, I let them down today. But we will come back no doubt. There’s a very long way to go," Perez said on social media.

    His final incident cost him a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Barcelona, with the stewards punishing him for a breach of the safety rules that require a driver to stop if the car is unsafe.

    "The incident was on me, I touched the wet part into turn six and I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t touch the brakes," Perez said on Sunday.

    "It has been a very tough couple of weekends, we will regroup, keep our heads down and learn from the weekend. We identified a couple of issues after qualifying and they meant we would have qualified a lot higher.

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    Perez recently signed a new two-year deal with Red Bull, ending speculation that the world champions will sign free agent Sainz ahead of the new season. 

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    The British driver was on pole for the first time since the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2022 and led for the first 21 laps before being overtaken in quick succession by McLaren's Lando Norris and eventual winner, Max Verstappen. 

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