Charles Leclerc admitted he is learning from Carlos Sainz after being outqualified by his new Ferrari teammate in the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Sainz impressed in Q3 to secure fifth on the grid while Leclerc was only eighth, despite being able to advance from Q2 on the medium compound. In the race it was a different matter, as Sainz’s soft-medium strategy dropped him out of the points, but Leclerc noted that the first part of the weekend shows how much he can learn from the Spaniard.
“What I learned from this weekend is maybe I should have taken it step by step, especially on such a difficult weekend like this,” Leclerc said. “I’ve tried to push the car to its limit straight away and it made my weekend just very, very messy.
“So if I look Friday and Saturday, they weren’t very good days for me. I was just all over the place, and once in 10 laps I managed to do a very good lap, but I was just not consistent. So maybe in those conditions, I should have taken it a bit more step by step, which I did (on Sunday).
“To be honest, I’m happy with the job I did in the race. But speaking about Carlos, for sure I learn (from) how he drives; he drives very differently to how Seb (Vettel) was driving last year. And it’s always very interesting to see him work with the engineers and the way he works and his view on things. So yeah, I am definitely learning a lot from him.”
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Sainz echoed Leclerc’s comments, saying he will be looking at how his teammate adapted in the race as he tries to improve from the struggles he suffered in the latter stages.
“Same for me really,” Sainz said. “From the outside, I guess it looked like a positive weekend up until the race. Mainly, just getting to know how to drive the car a bit better. I had to learn quite a lot from Charles in a way to do some corners and to apply a certain driving style or to apply or to go in a setup direction, then come back and try a different one.
“There’s always things to learn, especially after the race. It’s my first difficult race with Ferrari – my first difficult Sunday, let’s put it like that – where things didn’t go to plan. There will be a lot of thinking, a lot of analyzing, a lot of self-criticism and trying to see what we can do better for the future, and keep improving. It’s a steep learning curve that I am on right now, and the learning curve needs to continue, and (Sunday) is part of the learning curve, I guess.”