Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr believes that he can match any of the top drivers on the Formula 1 grid, with the Spaniard is happy with his performances after a stellar first half of the season.
Sainz, who left McLaren before the start of the 2020 campaign, has been one of the revelations of the first half of 2021, with podium finishes at Monte Carlo and the Hungaroring, putting Sainz in sixth place in the driver's standings ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc in seventh.
When speaking to The Race, Sainz believes that his ability to match former teammates Max Verstappen and Lando Norris had boosted his confidence and gave him the belief that he had nothing to be afraid of when he teamed up with Leclerc at the start of the year.
“Every time I’ve jumped in a Formula 1 car, it doesn’t matter if it was with Max, with Nico, with Lando or with Charles, I don’t feel like I’ve been slower than them or I don’t feel like I haven’t been able to match what they do, And I beat them very often and, if anything, I’ve been able to take them to the limit in pretty much every qualifying session or every race.”
“I take that as a positive because I know that these are now considered, and considered by me to be honest, to be one of the top three guys in the grid, and I love the challenge. They help me to be a better driver, and I take the positive from being teammates with these guys. This also gives me confidence, and it gave me confidence before being in Ferrari that even going up against Charles, I shouldn’t be scared of anything after being team-mates with Lando and Max.”
Sainz also talked of what areas he needs to improve upon in the second half of the season, with the Spaniard points out that he needs to start putting race weekends together to pick up points at the end of the race weekend.
“There was always a question mark of where I’m going to fit into that and where I’m going to be, but I must say that I’m happy with the adaptation process. If anything, right from the start, the speed has been there. Pretty much every weekend, I have managed to be very, very quick at every point. Maybe the thing that I’m lacking still is to be consistently putting the whole weekend together, which is probably what brings you the points in the end and what brings the consistency and the whole picture together.”
“At the point that you sign a Ferrari contract, it must mean that you must have done something well in your career to be able to get that drive. I've always honestly felt really valued by the teams that I’ve been to. So, when I left Toro Rosso when I left Renault when I left McLaren and now Ferrari, I felt like people are rating me highly.”