Ferrari think they have ‘significant advantage’ in 2022 warning to Mercedes and Red Bull
F1: Leclerc says Ferrari career has 'exceeded expectations'
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Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies claims that the team can enjoy a ‘significant competitive advantage’ thanks to their driver line-up of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. The Prancing Horse saw the former finish on the podium in Abu Dhabi to cement their third-place spot in the Constructors’ Championship for 2022.
When Sainz swapped McLaren for Ferrari before the 2021 season, many expected him to play second fiddle behind Leclerc.
Thanks to his podium at Yas Marina, which was broadly overshadowed by the title-deciding battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, he ended the year flaunting a 5.5-point lead over his team-mate.
Former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone claimed that, after conversations with Sainz’s father, even figures at Ferrari were surprised at how evenly matched the pair were in 2021.
Mekies believes that the team are blessed in that respect, with his comments suggesting even greater ambitions for the years ahead.
“The way they complement each other, Carlos and Charles is at the moment as good as it gets,” Mekies told Motorsport.com.
“These two guys – the way they work with us, the way we have integrated them, the way they are contributing – is a very significant competitive advantage.
“We don’t want to stop there. We want to develop that because we think there is more to come as well. But certainly it’s one of the strong points we have.
“The level of respect, the level of desire to work together, the level of trust in both as characters and in technical abilities, is huge.
“They both share the same drive to push the team to recover.
“We think it’s one of the strong points we do get now. Not only because they describe what they feel, but also because they have the will and motivation to go back and work with us on finding solutions.
“They do it with different words so we can click things together. They don’t always agree, which again gives us a chance to look at things in a wider way.
“We think that part is working well. There is always more to come because of the way it is.”
Indeed, Mekies is not the only one who has been left impressed by the Ferrari duo.
After an anonymous vote by the current line-up of F1 drivers and team bosses, Sainz and Leclerc wound up fourth and fifth respectively in the running for Top 10 Drivers of 2021.
Only Lando Norris was sandwiched between the pair and title-chasing duo Hamilton and Verstappen after a successful season for McLaren.
And with even greater ambitions going forward, it remains to be seen whether the gap can be closed on Mercedes and Red Bull and the list looks even more favourable for the Prancing Horse in 2022.
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