Asked to comment on the season that ended a month ago, Red Bull boss Helmut Marko has a perhaps surprising assessment of Charles Leclerc, the poster boy of Ferrari, who was dominated by his new team-mate Carlos Sainz in his first season with the F1 team.
Charles Leclerc, who made a remarkable debut at Ferrari, dominating Sebastian Vettel (a four time world champion), was quickly offered a long-term contract by the Scuderia. This season, he was confronted with a new teammate, namely Carlos Sainz.
And thanks to a third place in the last Grand Prix of the season, his third podium of the season, the Spaniard has overtaken the Monegasque in the final points tally. A situation that makes Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko say that Carlos Sainz is one of the closest drivers in terms of talent to Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. And that Charles Leclerc is significantly over-rated as a Formula 1 talent.
“Carlos Sainz has shattered the Charles Leclerc myth” says Marko
“Carlos has shattered the Charles Leclerc myth, if I can put it that way.
“With Hamilton and Verstappen, Mercedes and we have the two best drivers in the field. After that, the closest in my opinion are Lando Norris and Carlos. They were close at McLaren and Carlos beat Leclerc in his first season at Ferrari,”
Whilst it is true that Leclerc dominated an erratic performing Sebastian Vettel during their time together at Ferrari, it was quite clear to most that could be bothered to look a little deeper that Vettel had fallen from grace long ago at Ferrari. The German really didn’t stand a chance with the team focused on their new rookie and poster boy.
Perhaps with the new rule changes potentially bringing about more teams fighting near the front, we could see Ferrari, McLaren, and Red Bull competing with Mercedes regularly for race wins. A Judge can dream.