During the sprint race prior to the Austrian Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz did not make it easy for his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc. The two fought a fierce duel, while Red Bull driver Max Verstappen disappeared further from sight and won.
Leclerc didn’t seem very happy with the adventurous performance of his teammate Sainz. But the Spaniard refuses to resign himself to an insignificant role as second fiddle, especially after his impressive victory at Silverstone last week.
Sainz was not aware of any guilt after the race. He called the battle with his stable mate in the sprint race ‘good fun’. “It was a few nice duels in the beginning. First with Max at the start and then with Charles. This circuit always produces great fights.”
Leclerc, who managed to hold on to second place, thought a little differently about that. This became apparent during the short talk just after the finish, where the Monegask was asked whether his collaboration with Sainz would be better tomorrow. His answer was short. “I hope so.”
At the press conference, Leclerc was a bit broader in substance, but still clear about what he thought of the fight with Sainz. “Tomorrow we cannot afford what we have done today.”
“It is up to the team management how we are going to handle that. We will never know whether we could have attacked Max today without duels.”
Although it could not be made too difficult for Verstappen on Saturday, Leclerc and Sainz realize that everything should be possible on Sunday. In the last part of the sprint race, the speed of the Ferraris was high.
“I think the three of us were evenly matched in terms of speed,” said Leclerc. “Tomorrow is a very different race. It will be about how the tires hold up.”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner also sees that everything is still possible on Sunday. “It certainly wasn’t walk in the park for Max. His start was good and after that he managed the race very well. He has delivered a very good performance.”
The race of Verstappen’s stable mate Sergio Pérez could also appeal to Horner. The Mexican received a grid penalty after qualifying and fought his way from thirteenth to fifth.
“Pérez has made an excellent recovery after a frustrating Friday. All in all, it has not been a bad weekend so far.”
In the video below you can see Horner’s full analysis of the sprint race:
Horner satisfied with Verstappen after sprint race: ‘Has managed the race well’
Verstappen himself was also happy with his victory, which he booked in front of stands that were overflowing with Dutch race fans. “That was great again. Especially at the end I got it, even with all the orange smoke.”
During the sprint race he got the feeling that it will be difficult for him on Sunday.
“The Ferraris were fighting each other in the beginning and I benefited from that. But at the end Leclerc was just as fast as I was, so tomorrow will be more exciting.”