Ferrari chief answers tricky Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz question
Mattia Binotto insisted that Ferrari is not yet considering team orders for racers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
The Italian team are the runaway leaders at the top of the constructors' championship. Ferrari already have a 39-point cushion at the top of the standings, and that number increases by 10 to third-placed Red Bull.
It puts them in prime position for a tilt at both Formula 1 titles this season, but also presents a challenge within the team. At some point, as Binotto is well aware, a choice will likely have to be made as to which of them gets the full resources to chase the title.
Leclerc is the man in top form right now, and has dropped only seven points in the opening three races. On top of winning two and finishing second in the other, he has secured the extra point for recording the fastest lap in all three races so far, highlighting his dominance.
Sainz has played his part as well with back-to-back podiums in the first two races, but his personal ambitions were hampered by a DNF last time out in Australia as he beached his car in a gravel trap. Already, he is 38 points adrift of his team-mate.
Despite Leclerc having the upper hand, Binotto believes it is too early to prioritise the Monegasque's title push and says his drivers are free to fight. "It's only three races which have been done now," he said when questioned on the subject.
"There are still 20 races left, hopefully 19 or 20. So the championship is still very long. Our drivers are free to fight, and I am really looking forward and enjoying that they are battling for a good place, and first place, if possible."
Ferrari and Red Bull look to be at a similar level in terms of pace in these early-season exchanges, but the Italian cars have been far more reliable and seem to have no obvious weakness at the moment. Their rivals, on the other hand, have been suffering from reliability issues which have hampered Max Verstappen 's title defence.
Despite their superiority so far, Leclerc has spoken of the need to not take anything for granted with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix coming up this weekend. "There are a lot of things that are going to be quite crazy in Imola for us," he said.
"Obviously, other than that, it will also be a race weekend where we'll have a sprint race. Whether it's the right track to do it or not, I don't know. I think we'll have the answer after the weekend. I'm pretty sure there's a lot of excitement but we also need to make sure, as a team, that we don't try and overdo things, because there will be a lot of expectations as always. We need to stay calm."
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