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French GP: Carlos Sainz happy to give Charles Leclerc slipstream to pole

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Carlos Sainz was disappointed but happy after providing a crucial tow on Saturday to enable Charles Leclerc to slipstream and take pole position for Ferrari at the French Grand Prix. In a perfect display of racing teamwork, the Spanish driver, who will start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid, drove straight to Leclerc to help him find extra speed on the long back.

Leclerc gained two-tenths of a second and used this advantage to advance world champion and Red Bull series leader Max Verstappen by three-tenths and reach his seventh pole position this year and his career. occupied 16th place.

Sainz, who was fastest in Friday’s practice, was given a grid penalty after Ferrari fitted several new engine parts to his car.

He would start from behind with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, punished for the same reason.

“I’ve been pretty quick here all weekend, so I personally feel a little disappointed,” Sainz said.

“But I’m glad that Charles has pole position. He will have to fight with Max at the start, but I believe he can do that – it’s all about the start.

“Today shows that we are a very solid team. We have a great team atmosphere and we are all ready to help each other.”

Leclerc, in a bid to secure Ferrari’s third consecutive win and cut Verstappen’s 38-point lead in the title race, praised his teammate.

“He did the right thing and his tow helped me a lot – I got there two-tenths straight on him, so I had a very good mindset in the end zone. It was great work from Carlos,” he said. .

Leclerc said he expects a brutal and close fight with Verstappen in Sunday’s race as the two title heroes are on the front lines for the sixth time this year.

“We have high downforce and that can be good for tire management, but they are very fast on the straights and very difficult to follow here,” said Leclerc.

“Two different approaches. Only time will tell. Let’s see which compromise works best tomorrow.”

Verstappen said he understands why Ferrari chose to use Sainz as a slip-streaming aid for Leclerc.

“We didn’t have a fine so we didn’t do it,” he said.

“It’s a different situation for us and I can see why they did it.

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“We are fast on the straights so tomorrow it will be interesting to see who has the fastest philosophy, but here it is about the tires and their care.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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