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Ferrari

Schumacher's former teammate calls for Ferrari tactics to stop Verstappen

Charles Leclerc has built himself a comfortable lead in the World Championship after three races and Ferrari must use team orders to ensure he stays there, says Eddie Irvine.

Sainz start Saudi 2022
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To news overview © Ferrari

Eddie Irvine has called for Ferrari to implement precise team orders to help Charles Leclerc beat Max Verstappen to the World Championship crown in 2022.

Leclerc has built himself a 46-point advantage over Verstappen after the opening three rounds of the 2022 season and is now 38 points clear of teammate Carlos Sainz.

With a faultless race weekend in Imola, Leclerc could find himself counting the most commanding points lead after four races in F1 history.

But despite there still being 20 races to go in 2022, Irvine has called on Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto to demote Sainz to a clear number two driver going forward, in order to help Leclerc win the team their first Drivers' World Championship since 2007.

Irvine: I would give precise orders at Ferrari

Irvine spent four years acting as Michael Schumacher's sidekick at Ferrari between 1996 and 1999.

During his first three years with the team, the Northern Irishman was winless as he played the team game to help Schumacher stand on the top step on 14 occasions.

But after missing much of the 1999 season with a broken leg, Schumacher would repay the favour by aiding Irvine in his own World Championship battle with Mika Hakkinen.

"If I were Mattia, I would give precise orders, like in my day, because beating Verstappen is already tough," Irvine said, speaking to Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Sainz can still snatch points from Leclerc"

According to Irvine, the potential banana skin facing Ferrari is that the gulf in class between Leclerc and Sainz is not as dramatic as the gulf between Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez.

Verstappen has already proven that he has what it takes to beat Perez, commandingly, over an entire season, while it was Sainz who outscored Leclerc during 2021, by five and a half points.

"This is a problem for Charles because Sainz, who is number two, can occasionally find himself in front," Irvine continued.

"If you have a teammate who can snatch points... Perez, under normal conditions, can't beat Max. "

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