Italian media say Sainz can overtake Leclerc as ‘number 1’

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Italian journalists believe Carlos Sainz could not only block Mick Schumacher’s route to Ferrari – he could even succeed Charles Leclerc as the team’s number 1.

The fiercely partisan Italian press has made no secret of its collective joy with the team’s newcomer and Spaniard Sainz’s first Ferrari podium in Monaco.

“If he continues to deliver results and work so well with Leclerc, win races and help Ferrari fight for the world championship, Carlos will be destined to stay at Maranello for many years to come,” said Luigi Perna, writer for La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“If that happens, he need not fear Mick Schumacher, because Mick still has a lot to prove in Formula 1,” he told Spaniard El Mundo Deportivo.

As to whether Sainz, 26, can possibly dismantle Leclerc, three years younger, another Italian journalist Daniele Sparisci replied: “It depends on him.

“Leclerc has more pure talent and a killer instinct, but from the start Sainz is already fighting with him at the same level, pushing him, putting him in trouble,” he said.

“Doing all of this alongside Leclerc, who is considered a phenomenon, a star, means Carlos has a lot of talent.

“I agree that they are two different drivers – super aggressive Leclerc and Carlos a lot more calculating. But there are so many calculating drivers who have won and have done very well in Formula 1, ”added Sparisci.

Italian technical journalist Paolo Filisetti says: “I think Carlos can be Ferrari number 1.

“You win the number 1 position on the track so I don’t see why. I think it’s also clear that Carlos didn’t come to Ferrari to be number 2.

“I don’t see why anyone thinks it’s impossible for Carlos to take that extra step to join Leclerc, Verstappen and Hamilton as the drivers everyone is talking about to win the title,” he added.

As for Schumacher, who is obviously prepared by Ferrari for a future at Maranello, Filisetti says the jury is out.

“I don’t see Mick as an imminent danger to Carlos,” he said.

“Yes, Mick has his father’s last name, but it remains to be seen how he matures. It is crucial that Mick starts showing something substantial and I hope Ferrari will not choose their drivers in the future just for marketing reasons.

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