Carlos Sainz: Every driver knows they could suffer the same fate as Daniel Ricciardo

Michelle Foster
Daniel Ricciardo congratulates Carlos Sainz after his British GP win. Silverstone July 2022

Heroes if they do well, villains if they don’t, Carlos Sainz says “every driver knows” they are judged on their last race and could find their careers cut short by a bad run of form.

That, he says, is what has happened to Daniel Ricciardo.

A race winner as recently as last year’s Italian Grand Prix, that wasn’t enough to offset the Aussie’s struggles in his two seasons with McLaren.

The team announced back in August this season would be his last with them, and it seems it’s also going to be his last in Formula 1 at least for now.

It’s a risk that every driver faces, says Sainz, even the good ones like Ricciardo.

“I think every driver knows, we are judged by what we have done and achieved in the last race,” he said in a wide-ranging interview with Motorsport.com.

“At the most we evaluate the last season, and that is why Daniel is in such a difficult situation today. No sport has a long memory, and I don’t think we can change this approach.

“It’s the way the sport values us. If you win you are a hero, you have a great weekend and you become the best driver in the world, no one is better than you. But if you go through a difficult period the opposite happens, it must be taken into account.

“I know how good Daniel is, he found himself in a team he never felt comfortable with and this was enough to make his career take a different path. Last year he won a race, but no one remembers him now.

“This is why I believe that we must always be focused on the next race, because every time we go out on the track we are playing for a result but also for our reputation.”

Carlos Sainz on the podium after winning the British Grand Prix 2022 at Silverstone. July 2022

This season Sainz joined Ricciardo on the list of F1 race winners, the 112th driver to stand on the top step of the podium.

He was P1 at the British Grand Prix, the Spaniard taking 150 starts to break his duck.

Racing for Toro Rosso, Renault and McLaren before joining Ferrari, Sainz is often underrated by those in the paddock as well as F1 fans.

Asked about that and why it is, he replied: “It’s a good question but I can’t answer it.

“There is one thing that I am very sure of, and that is that every team-mate who has worked with me, every team principal, every engineer who has looked at my data, has rated me as a great talent, and if they say so is probably because they have seen what I am capable of.

“They know I’m very fast in the wet and this is normally something that shows a talented driver. Maybe there are those who would like me to be more spectacular, I don’t know, honestly I just need the judgment of the people who read my telemetry and who work with me.

“If that’s not the case in the rest of the paddock, well, maybe it’s a bit of my fault. I don’t like to say ‘this has been the ride of my life’, or anything like that, it’s not my way, and maybe this conveys another perception.”

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