Sainz: Binotto and Ferrari know my worth as a driver

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, celebrates P3 in Abu Dhabi. December 2021.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, celebrates on the podium after finishing P3 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. December 2021.

Although not often mentioned in the same category as Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton or even Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz says Ferrari know his worth, and his pace.

Racing for his fourth F1 team in nine seasons, Sainz has all too often found himself written off by pundits and it was more of the same when he joined Ferrari last season.

Many predicted that the Spaniard would be second best to his new team-mate Charles Leclerc, the Monégasque driver billed as the future of Ferrari, their next World Champion.

Sainz surprised when he beat his team-mate in the Drivers’ standings, P5 to P7, and took more podium finishes, four to one.

2021’s result means he has only twice lost to a team-mate in the standings, 2015 to Verstappen and 2018 to Nico Hülkenberg.

It begs the question does Sainz ever get annoyed that he is not mentioned when F1 is speaking about the best.

He told Corriere della Sera in a wide-ranging interview: “Not everyone treats me as an outsider. Anyone who understands this sport, anyone who has worked with me knows that I am not at all.

“When Mattia Binotto signed me to Ferrari he knew I could do a good job, which I know is very fast. Those who think that my level is not very high do not pay attention because they do not know F1.”

Sainz himself, though, has at times downplayed his own chances.

Joining Ferrari at the start of last year’s championship he was asked if he would beat Leclerc and replied “no”. He says that wasn’t a lie, it was a “logical answer.

“I had just arrived, had a lot to learn, a very strong team-mate. However, even then I believed in myself, trust is never lacking, but I have to be realistic.

“Drivers like Leclerc, Norris, Verstappen or Hamilton have no weaknesses. The comparison takes place by improving every detail and it is fun to have a partner like this: you learn by observing.”

Sainz also learned a lot from his very first team-mate in Formula 1, Verstappen.

The two were signed to Toro Rosso back in 2015, making their debuts the same season.

But while Verstappen made the leap up to Red Bull the next year, Sainz remained at Toro Rosso for almost three years before moving on, Ferrari his third team since saying farewell to the Faenza team.

Asked what he most admires, and of course what he most hates, about his former team-mate, he said: “I admire his ability to be fast in every situation, the courage he shows in attempting his own route, a critical overtaking.

 

“I don’t hate anything…. better to say that, otherwise the catchphrase would be triggered.”