Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has said he has felt “appreciated” by every team he has raced with in Formula 1, even though he admitted that some fans consider him to be “in the shadows.”
In a recent interview, the Spaniard said he has never felt slower than any team-mate he has raced against in Formula 1.
“If you sign a Ferrari contract, you must have done something right in your career,” Sainz said in conversation with Auto Motor und Sport.
“I’ve always felt appreciated by all the teams, from Toro Rosso to Renault to McLaren, even when I left them.
“If the public think I’m in the shadows there, I wonder why. No matter who I’ve raced against so far, whether it’s Max [Verstappen], Nico [Hulkenberg], Lando [Norris] or Charles [Leclerc], I’ve never felt I was slower than them or couldn’t do something they can do.
“I’ve beaten them all and always pushed them to the limit. I see that as an accolade. Max, Lando and Charles are among the top guys in the field, even by my own estimation.”
Continuing, Sainz said he doesn’t feel the need to be “afraid of anyone”, as he is confident he can at least match the rest of the F1 grid in equal machinery.
“I like the challenge of racing against them and they have made me a better driver,” Sainz added.
“That also gave me the confidence that I could take on anyone when I joined Ferrari.
“If I integrate properly in the team and set up the car properly, I don’t have to be afraid of anyone.”