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EXCLUSIVE: Matt Bishop Ranks Charles Leclerc Above Carlos Sainz as the Spaniard Races His Last Season With Ferrari

Aishwary Gaonkar
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EXCLUSIVE: Matt Bishop Ranks Charles Leclerc Above Carlos Sainz as the Spaniard Races His Last Season With Ferrari

Carlos Sainz has had a good enough time with Ferrari although he would have perhaps wanted more. As the Spaniard gears up for his last dance with the Italian outfit in 2024, he seems like a man on a mission from what we saw in the season opener in Bahrain. Sainz certainly has given Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc some tough competition in the last three seasons. However, F1 journalist Matt Bishop mentioned in an exclusive conversation with The SportsRush that the Moneagasque is better than Sainz when it comes to outright qualifying pace.

When asked about Sainz’s future options as per his capability, Bishop said, “He has got what it takes. Do I think he’s absolutely as quick in terms of white-knuckle qualifying pace as Charles Leclerc? No, I think that Charles Leclerc edges it.

Still, the 61-year-old highlighted how the 29-year-old is “an extremely fine driver”. Bishop pointed out that Ferrari has been in the mix for Grand Prix wins in the past couple of years besides Red Bull. While the Italian team only managed to win five races, Sainz has won two of those, which speaks highly of his caliber.

So, the #55 driver knows how to be at the right place at the right time and capitalize on opportunities. Now, Sainz has to utilize this quality to ensure that he has a bright future ahead. While there’s a potential for seats to be available at both Red Bull and Mercedes for 2025, Sainz still needs to prove to these teams why they should sign him up.

Bishop stated that everyone would eye these two seats, and not just Sainz. So, the Spaniard needs to stand out from the crowd. As things stand, Bishop said, “Whether or not he ends up in a Red Bull, I don’t know.”

Matt Bishop explains challenges Carlos Sainz will face in this year’s competitive driver market

While discussing Carlos Sainz’s chances for a Red Bull drive, Matt Bishop also digressed into how competitive the driver market for next season is. With uncertainty surrounding Sergio Perez’s future, Bishop mentioned that there are lots of drivers who would covet the seat on the Milton Keynes team.

Bishop mentioned the timeline on when we shall get a better picture of who is driving where depending on how these drivers perform this season. He said, “It will be easier to say in 5 or 10 races time when we will see if any of those drivers have stamped their authority on that car and on their teammate”.

With Perez’s contract up for renewal, many drivers like Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda, and Sainz would most likely audition for the second Red Bull seat. Even the team’s reserve driver, Liam Lawson, could be worth a shout, just in case Ricciardo or Tsunoda don’t deliver the desired performance.

Similarly, Mercedes is the other top team that has a seat available with Lewis Hamilton moving away. Sainz is a contender for them too. However, one can say that the battle for this seat is much more fierce given there is confirmation of Hamilton’s departure.

Apart from Sainz, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Antonelli are some of the other hyped-up candidates who may take the vacant spot at Brackley. Even Max Verstappen’s name has come up in what could be another seismic move. Meanwhile, Mick Schumacher, who is Mercedes’ reserve driver, and Ricciardo are also some of the lesser-discussed options so far.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

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Aishwary Gaonkar

Aishwary Gaonkar

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Aishwary Gaonkar is the F1 Editor at The SportsRush. Having written over 757 articles about different aspects of the sport, Aishwary passionately likes to dive deep into the intricacies of the on-track events. He has been an avid F1 fan since the 2011 season, amid Sebastian Vettel's dominance. Besides the 4-time champion, he also likes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Among the current drivers, he thinks Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri have championship-winning caliber. Longing for a Ferrari world championship, Aishwary is also a fan of Aston Martin's underdog story and their bid to win the F1 championship. Other than F1, he follows tennis and cricket too.

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