Both Saubers reached Q3 on Saturday with Leclerc getting the better of Ericsson on their final hot laps. Leclerc crossed the line in seventh place on Sunday, while Ericsson came home in ninth which meant Sauber jumped Toro Rosso for eighth in the constructor's championship.
“The plan was just to help Charles’ race basically,” Ericsson said. "I was just sacrificing my race completely to help him. I wanted to box many laps earlier because I knew I was throwing away my race but for the team and for Charles.
“I had to try and keep these cars behind to help him open the gap," the Swede added. "So I did that for the team but it was frustrating because it felt like I threw away my chances of points.”
Ericsson, who will be out of a Formula 1 race seat for 2019, says that he was massively frustrated inside the car: “I was really fuming in the car. I was really getting frustrated, in a nice way.
“I know we have to work for the team’s best, but for me it was a bit extreme. I felt like I’d thrown away my race, which was very frustrating. I’ve always been a team player. I’ve always done everything for the team, I always put the team first and I think that’s one of my abilities that people value a lot and I will always do that.”
Ericsson will be replaced by Antonio Giovinazzi for 2019 who will be joined by Kimi Raikkonen at the team. Ericsson will hold the role of its third driver but despite his current F1 stint coming to a close, he believes that his Mexico race was one of the best of his career.
"It’s close with Bahrain but I would say it’s definitely up there. I think it’s one of my best races in F1 in general, I’m very proud of it,” he stated. “The way I raced, keeping cars behind that were on fresher tyres, also sacrificing my strategy a lot for the other car and still managing to fight my way to P9, I’m very proud of that.
“To still finish ninth and beat all these cars was quite incredible. That’s why I think it’s one of the best performances I’ve done, because all these circumstances - a first stint that was five laps too long and losing nine seconds in the pits - and still being able to beat all these guys I think is pretty well done.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing