Ericsson asked to “sacrifice” race for Leclerc

Marcus Ericsson, who was dropped by Sauber in favour of Antonio Giovinazzi, and expected to continue with the Swiss team as third driver and ‘brand ambassador’, today revealed that he is heading instead to IndyCar.

Meanwhile it has been revealed that during last Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix he was called on to sacrifice his race for the sake of teammate Charles Leclerc.

The Swede says he was asked to prolong his opening stint on hypersofts in order to benefit his teammate who was running ahead. While the Monegasque stopped for supersofts on lap 13, the Swede was left out until lap before changing in order that he might hold-off those drivers Leclerc was battling for position with.

The extra laps on the rapidly degrading pink-banded rubber cost the Swede valuable pace, for having been 8th – one place Leclerc – at the time of the Ferrari-bound driver’s pit stop – by the time of his own stop, just three laps later, Ericsson had dropped to 14th.

Nonetheless, the Swede, driving what he says was the best race of his F1 career, made up ground in the remainder of the race and went on to finish ninth, scoring points for the second successive race.

“I was really fuming in the car,” admitted the Swede, according to “I was really getting frustrated… I know we had to work for the best of the team, but for me it was a bit extreme. I felt I had thrown away my race which was very frustrating. But my second stint saved it and I am really, really proud of it. With all these things, to still finish ninth and beat all these cars is quite incredible.

“The plan was to just help Charles’ race,” he revealed. “I was sacrificing my race totally to help him. I wanted to box many laps earlier as I knew I was throwing away my race, but for the team and Charles I had to keep these cars behind to help him open up the gap. So I did that for the team, but it was frustrating because it felt like I threw away my chance of points.”

Finishing seventh and ninth, the Swiss team leapfrogged Toro Rosso in the team standings.

“I’ve always been a team player,” he said, “I’ve always done everything for the team. I always put the team first and that is one of my abilities that people value a lot and I will always do that. I think I did that in a very big way and even Charles acknowledged that. He even thanked me after the race, that without me he would not have been able to do that race.”