Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have praised each other after putting on an exciting fight during the Italian Grand Prix. The Ferrari drivers left Formula 1 fans on the edge of their seats after “tough, hard racing” as the pair competed for third place.
Sainz, 29, took third place having started on pole, with Leclerc, 25, close behind him, taking fourth place. Although the Tifosi were dreaming of a Monza victory, it seemed impossible against the current, heavily dominant Red Bulls.
Max Verstappen took the win which saw the Dutch driver, 25, secure yet another record. Verstappen has now won 10 consecutive races, meaning he is the first driver to reach double digits of consecutive wins and took the record from former driver Sebastian Vettel.
At one point during the exciting battle, the two Ferrari’s made contact, but fortunately both cars were left undamaged. The drivers were then told that they could race to the end but with “no risk”, with the race almost finished for both drivers after Leclerc locked up in turn one and nearly took both Ferrari’s out of the race.
Fans were relieved to see both cars came out of the race unharmed after a few close calls. Sainz told Ferrari: “It was a great weekend all along and to be able to celebrate a podium with the tifosi is the perfect icing on the cake! I really want to thank every single one of them for their endless support. They are very special.
“Today I did everything I could to try to keep both Red Bulls behind, using my tyres to the limit and pushing for the entire race. Unfortunately, they still have the edge over us on race day and P3 was the maximum today. We had good battles on track with them and with Charles and I hope people enjoyed it as much as I did. Now we have some time to regroup and start preparing for Singapore as soon as possible.”
Leclerc added: “It has been a while since I had that much fun in a race! The battles we had throughout were great, and Checo (Perez), Carlos and I were really close towards the end, which made for an exciting handful of closing laps. We had some free space behind us, so I just enjoyed it and pushed to the maximum.
“I hope that the tifosi enjoyed it as much as I did and a big thanks to them for all the support this weekend. I hope that we will see more races like this to come and look forward to being back on track in Singapore.”
Ferrari’s team principal Frédéric Vasseur said: ”It was a great race and the result was the best we could do today, finishing on the podium in front of our fans and bringing home 27 points which sees us get ahead of Aston Martin and close on Mercedes.
“We dedicate this result to our fans who have been so supportive all weekend long and we are pleased to have put on a good show both yesterday in qualifying and today, especially at the end of the race when we let our drivers fight it out for third place. We did that because we know how special it is to be on the podium here, but we also told them not to take any risks and they complied with that.
“Carlos drove really well all weekend and Charles also recovered well after getting off to a difficult start on Friday. In two weeks we start from scratch again in Singapore, but for today we can be happy with what we have done here. We knew our car would be more competitive on this sort of track and the SF-23 lived up to our expectations.”