Carlos Sainz delivered one of his strongest performances of the F1 season as he finished a close second behind Max Verstappen at the Canadian Grand Prix.
With Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc having to start at the back due to an engine change penalty, Sainz was left to carry the fight to Red Bull and Verstappen. In a nip-and-tuck race, interrupted by two virtual safety cars and a full safety car, Sainz piled pressure on the world champion in the closing stages. However, he could not stay close enough coming out of the hairpin ahead of the long back straight. And with Verstappen driving a faultless race, Sainz’s wait for a maiden Grand Prix goes on.
Sainz matched his highly-rated teammate last season and surprisingly finished ahead of him in the championship. But 2022 has been a season of struggle for the Spaniard, who has suffered numerous crashes and hasn't been able to keep pace with Leclerc.
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That has come as a surprise to 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg, who does not believe Sainz has the ability, at present, to be a world champion.
“He’s got it in him to be a good, decent driver in Ferrari but at the moment he’s not got it in him to be a world champion,” Rosberg told Sky Sports F1’s Any Driven Monday YouTube show.
“Because Leclerc, on performance, has been outdriving him at every single race this year. So he still needs to find quite a bit of progress to be on level terms with Leclerc, which comes as a bit of a surprise after last year. The car is different, maybe it takes him more time to get on top of things.”
Is Rosberg right about Sainz? Have your say in the comments section below.
Naturally, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto issued a rather more complimentary verdict on Sainz after his Montreal performance.
“Honestly, it was not a surprise,” said Binotto. “If you look at the race sim on Friday, Carlos was very strong already and we were very close to the Red Bulls.
“So, we knew we could fight. How much closer it would have been after Friday, no idea, but we know that our car is competitive. Carlos is gaining confidence with the car, he is driving faster and faster and it’s good to see that. He was certainly as fast, if not slightly faster, than Max.”
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