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Why Sainz may be about to face a 'painful' realisation at Ferrari

Martin Brundle believes that Ferrari are now close to prioritising Charles Leclerc in this year's Drivers' Championship.

Ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle reckons Ferrari will soon be giving priority status to Charles Leclerc in order to compete for the Drivers' Championship. Following a six-win streak for Red Bull, Ferrari have fought back with wins at the British and Austrian Grands Prix in an attempt to reignite the battle in the Drivers' and Constructors' Standings. After taking his first F1 victory at Silverstone, Carlos Sainz looked on course for second place at the Austrian GP, but a power unit issue ended his race prematurely. With reliability issues and strategic errors hampering Ferrari's championship bid so far this season, Brundle was fearful of spectators being denied a season-long title race. "Max calmly and skilfully leads the championship by 38 points over Charles but that could have been so different if Ferrari had been more reliable such as in Spain and Azerbaijan, or sharper on strategy such as in Monaco and Britain," Brundle wrote in his column for Sky Sports . "Max of course had two retirements in the first three races but Leclerc's pace throughout has been deeply impressive, and if you wear a neutral F1 cap we are so far being denied another cliffhanger of a championship."

Could Ferrari be close to prioritising Leclerc?

With Leclerc taking the victory in Austria, the Monegasque driver, who is second in the Drivers' standings, leads his teammate by 37 points. Championship leader Max Verstappen is still 38 points ahead of Leclerc, and the two look favourites to contest the 2022 Drivers' Championship. With half of the season completed, and Red Bull seemingly on top of their own reliability dramas from earlier in the year, Brundle believes Leclerc's points advantage over Sainz may result in him being given priority in the championship soon. "The Ferrari is fragile and Sainz's power unit blow-up was bodywork shattering, followed by a very expensive fire in this cost cap era," added Brundle. "Fresh from his inaugural victory at Silverstone, Sainz was absolutely gutted, a guaranteed at least second place gone up in smoke. "As we move into the second half of the season the trailing Ferrari team must be close to calling off the battle between their two drivers and he will be aware of this. "It was a very painful and sad moment for him championship-wise."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix