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Carlos Sainz

Sainz unsure if he is performing to best level of F1 career

Carlos Sainz says he does not know if he is performing to the best of his abilities in F1 this season, despite a strong start to his final campaign with Ferrari.

Carlos Sainz does not know if he is at his "best" in F1 this year, with the Ferrari driver highlighting different factors that make it difficult to determine his level of performance.

The Spaniard will be departing the Italian team, his home for the past four years, at the end of the season with Lewis Hamilton replacing him at the Scuderia.

That news was announced before the start of the 2024 season, which the 29-year-old has began in fine form.

Whilst he missed the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to a bout of appendicitis, Sainz has taken two podium finishes and a win in the four rounds he has competed in.

"Am I at my best? I don’t know," he replied to media including RacingNews365 when asked at the Chinese Grand Prix if his current performance levels were the high-water mark of his F1 career so far.

"For sure, it’s been my strongest start to the season since [I joined] Ferrari – this, I think, is not a secret.

"It’s a difficult thing to answer. Obviously, it looks like it because the podiums are coming, and the results are showing."

'I'm driving at a very good level'

Whilst Sainz will be moving on at the end of the season, it is not yet known where he might land.

The three-time grand prix winner has been closely linked with Audi for some time, and there remains the possibility he will slot in alongside Nico Hulkenberg at Stake F1 next season, ahead of Sauber being taken over by Audi in 2026.

Whilst that would be a clear step down in performance, Sainz has also been linked with Mercedes, or re-joining the Red Bull family by partner Max Verstappen, who he was team-mates with in his first season at Toro Rosso.

But wherever he ends up, Sainz believes he has a proven track record of performing at a high level across his career, saying: "I’ve been at my best also in McLaren, I’ve been at my best in Toro Rosso," before continuing to reject the premise of the original question.

"So what changes is the car – some years you have a better car than others. Some years you have a better qualifying car, a better race car.

"This year, we have a good compromise between quali and race, it seems. I’m driving at a very good level, I think, but I’ve been in F1 at a good level before. Honestly, I would need to go through all my last nine years – that are quite a few when I think about it."

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