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Carlos Sainz

Sainz happy to help Leclerc: It was our plan all weekend!

Carlos Sainz played the team game during qualifying for the French Grand Prix as he gave Charles Leclerc a tow in the decisive Q3 phase.

Sainz France
Article
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Carlos Sainz expressed his satisfaction at executing Ferrari's pre-qualifying plan at Paul Ricard by helping teammate Charles Leclerc secure pole position.

Sainz did not post any lap times in the Q3 phase as he prepared to drop to the back of the grid after taking on an array of new power unit elements.

Instead, he dedicated the session to giving Leclerc a tow on both runs, aiding the Monegasque's efforts to get the better of Red Bull rival Max Verstappen.

Leclerc's initial time of 1:31.209 put him 0.008s clear of Verstappen, before he delivered another tow-assisted effort of 1:30.872 to finish three-tenths ahead.

Sainz plays the team game as Leclerc grabs pole

"That was the plan all weekend really, to get to Q3 and then give Charles the tow," Sainz explained to Sky Sports F1 after qualifying.

"Even without practicing it, I knew more or less how to give a good tow, and everything worked well."

Asked if he could have claimed pole without his engine situation, Sainz said: "I think you just need to look at the whole weekend.

"I've been very, very quick, so it is a bit of a frustrating situation on a weekend that I'm feeling the best and at home with a car.

"But as I said, I'm happy that Charles scored the pole position, that we are up there as a team.

"I think we've received a lot of critics this year [about] the strategy, and today just shows that we are very solid team, that we get on very well.

"There's a very good atmosphere and we're willing to help each other as much as possible."

Sainz backs Leclerc in fight against Verstappen

Sainz now faces a major challenge on race day as he bids to climb from the back of the grid and join in the fight at the front of the field.

Whether he is able to achieve this or not, Sainz has tipped Leclerc to deal with Red Bull pair Verstappen and Sergio Perez behind.

"I think if anything it is going to be easier, because I'm not there!" Sainz laughed, when asked how difficult it will be for Leclerc as the sole Ferrari up front.

"No, I think I've been very quick all weekend and my lap in Q2 proves that.

"He will have to fight it on his own tomorrow against Max but I believe he can do it. I think this car, in every race we go to, is very quick.

"It's all about nailing the start and nailing the strategy, which I'm sure the team will do well."

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F1 2022 French Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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