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Leclerc seeking Sainz talks after Chinese sprint clash

It got close between Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz during the sprint race in China, with brief contact made between the duo towards the end of the event.

Sainz Leclerc
To news overview © XPBimages

Charles Leclerc has declared that Carlos Sainz was “over the limit” amid their battle for position during the sprint race in China.

The Ferrari pair were involved in a battle for third place in the latter stages of the race, with Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez also in contention for the spot.

It was Perez who came out on top after Alonso retired with a puncture while the Ferrari drivers lost time battling one another.

Leclerc and Sainz made contact while battling into the Turn 14 hairpin, causing Leclerc to run wide before retaking the position at Turn 1 on the following lap.

Speaking to Sky F1 after the race, Leclerc labelled Sainz's driving as too aggressive.

“To be honest, I have crossed the line also myself in the past and when this happens, we normally have a discussion,” he siad.

“We clear the air which we've went through in the past already and it went really well. So I have no worries that it will be the case this weekend - but today, he went a bit over the limit.

“I mean, [there was] contact between us [while] being in a different race situation because I had saved quite a bit the tyres, I had a good pace at the end.

“It's a bit of a shame that we lost that spot to Perez and couldn't go and take him but it's like this. P4, it could have been P3. It's one point, you can always do better.”

Sainz apologetic

Sainz responded to Leclerc's comments, insisting he had little life left in his tyres after pushing early in the race in a bid to overtake Max Verstappen.

The Spaniard was also involved in a close fight with compatriot Alonso, which further dented his pace in the latter stages of the race.

“I was pushing Max hard at the beginning because I knew if I was passing him I had a strong chance of winning the race,” Sainz said.

“That probably killed my tyres a bit and then I was managing [them] for the rest of the race until I got Fernando.

“I did a really good move around the outside of Turn 7, from then on he decided to be a bit of all or nothing into Turn 9 which cost us both the race.

“I think I picked up damage and a lot of dirt on my tyre from the optimistic move., I was doing everything I could to defend and sliding.

“I had a bit of a moment with Charles. I apologise if I did something over the limit but we were all racing really hard today, I was trying my best to keep it under control.”

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