From Max Verstappen in 2015, to Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc in 2020 and 2021, Carlos Sainz has had a number of teammates who are currently considered the very best. Yet the Spaniard is not mentioned by many in the same breath as such top drivers, even though he is doing a very respectable job.
In conversation with Auto Motor und Sport, he was asked about his former teammates and his current teammate. He competed against Verstappen, Norris and Leclerc, all superstars, in the same team. Does he feel underestimated?
Slightly, as his response shows: "If you sign a Ferrari contract, you must have done something right in your career. I've always felt appreciated by all the teams, from Toro Rosso to Renault to McLaren, even when I left them.
"If the public thinks I'm in the shadows, I wonder why. No matter who I've raced against so far, whether it's Max, Nico [Hulkenberg], Lando or Charles, I've never felt I was slower than them or couldn't do something they could."
Over the years, he could match all of those drivers, recalling: "I've beaten them all and always pushed them to the limit. I see that as an accolade. Max, Lando and Charles are among the top guys in the field, I think. I like the challenge of racing against them. And they've made me a better driver."
He added: "That also gave me the confidence that I could take on anyone when I joined Ferrari. If I integrate properly into the team and tune the car properly, I don't have to be afraid of anyone."