F1: Italian media says Sainz Jr. can overtake Leclerc as ‘number 1’

(GMM) Italian journalists think Carlos Sainz Jr. may not only block Mick Schumacher’s route to Ferrari – he may even take over from Charles Leclerc as team number 1.

The fiercely partisan Italian press did not hide its collective delight with team newcomer and Spaniard Sainz’s first Ferrari podium at Monaco.

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

“If that happens, there is no need for him to fear Mick Schumacher, because Mick still has so much to prove in Formula 1,” he told Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo.

Carlos Sainz Jr.

As for whether Sainz, 26, can eventually de-throne the three-years-younger Leclerc, another Italian journalist Daniele Sparisci answered: “It depends on him.

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

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

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

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

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

“I don’t see why anyone thinks it is impossible that Carlos will take that further step to join Leclerc, Verstappen and Hamilton as drivers everybody talks about to win the title,” he added.

As for Schumacher, who is obviously being groomed 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 bears his father’s last name, but how he matures remains to be seen. It is crucial that Mick starts showing something substantial and I hope Ferrari does not choose its drivers in the future only for marketing reasons.”

Carlos Sainz Jr.