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Why Leclerc's talent is derailing Sainz's own title tilt

Former GP2 champion and experienced TV broadcaster Davide Valsecchi believes Carlos Sainz is facing a huge challenge to beat Charles Leclerc, as the Monegasque is "more talented" than him.

Davide Valsecchi has urged Carlos Sainz to quickly react to his Australian Grand Prix nightmare, in order to prevent a title challenge from slipping through his fingers. While Charles Leclerc dominated the weekend in Melbourne, Sainz's weekend fell apart as he only qualified ninth for the Grand Prix after an unfortunately-timed red flag ruined his first flying lap. Starting the race on the Hard tyre, Sainz then had a slow getaway due to a steering wheel settings issue and, in his desperation to make up places, slid off the track and into retirement. Valsecchi, the 2012 GP2 champion, who is now an experienced broadcaster and pundit for Sky Sport Italy, said he understands Sainz's eagerness to impress, as he sees Leclerc seizing the initiative in the championship.

"Leclerc is more talented than Sainz"

"It's very complicated, [Sainz's] condition right now," Valsecchi told the F1 Nation podcast. "He knows that he has this great chance to win this championship, because the car is quick enough to give him the chance to fight for the championship and to become champion. "But the trouble is that he has, by his side, someone that is probably more talented than him. "He knows also that he needs to rush, to be quick to take victories, and to take leadership of the championship." Valsecchi said it's only a matter of time until Ferrari put all their weight behind one driver in the championship, particularly if Red Bull and Max Verstappen can recover from their poor start to the season. "Knowing Ferrari, [they] are famous to do [the] strategy [and] choose [a] first driver, [and] give all the energy to only one driver," he said. "I think it's crucial, the timing, for Sainz. He was not so lucky last weekend. He made some mistakes that, in the end, cost him a lot ,because he retired from the race. "It's not his best moment, but this is the most important time of his life and all of his career. He needs to speed up and to be on top. If not, he is going to lose the chance."

Valsecchi hopeful of Sainz resurgence

Valsecchi is hopeful Sainz will be able to rise to the challenge, and knows the distress that the Spaniard is likely dealing with after such a tough start to the year. "I push a bit for him. I like the guy, I know the family," Valsecchi said. "I cannot say he's my friend, but I know him very well, and I would like for him to be champion. "If he's not going to win [in] the next two or three races, he is going to be the reserve, the second driver of Leclerc that is probably going to become the World Champion. "To be the second driver is not so easy, it's an upset for us as a driver – we would like to be the best and, at least, the best in your team. "His condition, from my point of view, is not easy at all because the car is competitive. The only way is winning and, in terms of winning, it's easier for Leclerc at the moment."

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