Mattia Binotto has confirmed that new Grand Prix winner Carlos Sainz is a team player and in no way ignored team orders at Silverstone.
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Under the late Safety Car during Sunday afternoon’s British Grand Prix, Ferrari were heard asking Carlos Sainz to give his teammate, and race leader Charles Leclerc, a ten-car-length gap to help him race clear during the restart.
The Spanish driver, who was running on new Soft rubber while Leclerc was on much older Hard tyres, could be heard asking the team to change their minds, reminding them that the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton was close behind, also on new Soft tyres, and was in the fight for the victory.
He warned his team that it would be the wrong move for him to fall back that far and said, via the team radio: “Please, don’t ask me to do this guys, please.”
The teammates had been fighting each other for much of the Grand Prix with Leclerc, despite a damaged front wing, overtaking Sainz to take the lead of the race.
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Binotto: Carlos wasn’t ignoring the team
With only a handful of laps remaining in the race, the team wanted to give Leclerc the chance to hold the position, but soon realised that Sainz was right to be concerned about the charging Hamilton.
The Spaniard made his move soon after the restart and went on to secure the first win of his career while Leclerc fell behind both Hamilton and Sergio Perez.
“Carlos wasn’t ignoring the team – he made it clear to us that he had to protect himself against the pressure from behind and in doing so, he was protecting our goal to stay ahead,” explained Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto.
“As a team, we fully appreciate this, and we we’re all aligned. Without this insider information, I can see how this could be perceived as Carlos not being a team player.
“But a few laps before he swapped positions without any hesitation or complaints, clearly demonstrating that he puts the team first.”
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