Carlos Sainz says the performances of a number of midfield drivers are underrated because people forget how tough the competition is in F1 at present.
The Spaniard has been impressing for Toro Rosso since the Spanish Grand Prix, scoring points in all but two races since Barcelona. In a previous interview with F1i Sainz spoke of his admiration for double world champion Fernando Alonso, and he says being able to battle with his countryman in relatively equal machinery makes him even more proud of his recent form.
“We are always together on track and I think the performance of his car now and the performance of my car at the moment is the closest it has been,” Sainz told F1i. “I would say now they are even a step ahead of us, especially in terms of power, so it’s a tricky balance.
“At the end of the day people tend to forget that even if it’s in the midfield I am battling every race with two world champions and with podium finishers like [Sergio] Perez, [Romain] Grosjean, [Valtteri] Bottas, [Felipe] Massa - a race winner - and that’s my battle.
“People tend to forget that the midfield is actually still very talented and I’m able to still win a lot of battles in the midfield. That’s why I’m proud and that’s why I feel that this year has been good, because there has been many world champion battles out there in the midfield and we’ve come along pretty well.”
Sainz currently sits in 11th place in the drivers’ championship with 30 points. The 21-year-old has already been retained by Toro Rosso for the 2017 season, having been signed up by Red Bull ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix following reported interest from rival teams.