Carlos Sainz hopes that he can continue to drive fairly against the younger Formula 1 generation, even if they eventually fight for victories. So far, the Spaniard has enjoyed fights against youngsters like Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris or George Russell, and he hopes it will stay that way, even if the future is about more than just places off the podium.
“Even if they are no longer my age, I really enjoy racing against the new generation of drivers,” says the 27-year-old. “I think they are at a very good level. And they can stay clean on the track and produce good fights.”
You couldn’t always say that from the top this year. Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton got in each other’s way more than once in the championship fight and caused controversy. That was not the case further back: “In midfield we were able to behave and race. That was really positive.”
Ferrari was also the only team in 2021 to get through the season without a penalty point: both Sainz and team-mate Leclerc did not collect a single penalty point.
“Let’s see if it stays that way if we fight for something more in the coming year,” said the Spaniard. “Because I have a lot of fun. I feel able to fight anyone. For sure!”
In the past season, it was primarily the battle with McLaren that kept the team in suspense for Ferrari. After a strong start to the season for the team around Lando Norris, however, the Scuderia was able to prevail to some extent in the end.
The drop in form can be seen primarily in the Brit’s results: In the first ten races of the season, Norris only came out of the top 5 once, but in the other twelve races that followed, he only came out of seventh place once.
“There are still a few things that I can improve, but I’m happy because it was still my most successful season,” said Norris. “I think I did everything I could to give the team the best chance against Ferrari. And even if that didn’t work, it was my start to the season that brought us into this position.”
“Ferrari was strong from the first race, and people don’t even notice that. They were super strong from race one and just got stronger than us,” said the McLaren driver. “They did a great job and were better than us. We have to try again next year.”
With images from Motorsport Images.