Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has said he wants to change the opinion that he is simply a hard-worker, affirming that his talent has gotten him to where he is.
Sainz has arguably gone under the radar in Formula 1 in recent years, with jokes often being made about his on-track battles not being picked up by the television director.
The Spaniard finished fifth in the Drivers’ Standings in 2021, and while Sainz recognises that this is partly owed to his endeavour, he insists that his natural ability is also responsible for his success.
Asked about the balance between hard work and talent, the Ferrari driver replied: “Let’s see how I answer…no matter how much work you put in, if you don’t have talent you don’t do a fast lap in qualifying.”
He also went on to praise the application of other drivers on the grid, and therefore is unsure why he has often been singled out as the hard-worker.
“That’s why I think it’s mostly talent, and the rest I put in with work. But you would be surprised how much work other drivers put in. Maybe they don’t talk so much, or I have a reputation for hard work and not talent. I don’t know why.”
The 27-year-old outscored Lando Norris at McLaren in both of the two seasons that they spent together, and Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc ended 2021 two positions behind Sainz in the standings.
He therefore suggests asking them about his natural pace.
“People who have to take me into account, take me into account. And if not, ask Charles [Leclerc] or Lando [Norris], who have seen my telemetry, my data, or even team bosses where I have worked and competed.
“There, as they know what I am capable of, they would value me very highly. I don’t know, it’s something I try not to think about, because those who know me know what’s out there.”
He was again quick to emphasise that there are also other drivers who have moved countries to be closer to their team’s factory, but he puts more weight on the quality of the work rather than the quantity.
“But there are many who also go to live near the factory and put in hours similar to mine. It’s another thing if I’m heavier, or if I put in more hours, but that doesn’t mean I work more, it’s just the quality of the work.
“All I’m saying is that without talent, no matter how fast you go you won’t do fast laps in Formula 1,” he stressed.
Sainz admitted he would very much like to change the idea that he is purely a hard-worker, and not a talented driver.
“Then you can twist what I say…but it seems I’ve got the reputation of being a hard worker, that I only go fast because I work. But you don’t adapt to a car so quickly without talent.”
Asked about his preparations with Ferrari ahead of the new season, Sainz predicts that he will need to spend as much time with the team as he did ahead of his debut season, owing to the new regulations that will be introduced in 2022.
“[My preparations will be] similar to those of 2020-21,” he said.
“If it had been a continuation year, with a car that is still in development, perhaps less. But being a year with a completely new car, it is a new category. I will have to do the same winter as when I arrived at Ferrari.”
Together with Leclerc, Sainz guided Ferrari to third in the Constructors’ Championship in 2021.
Team principal Mattia Binotto has already stated that he would like to discuss a new contract for the Spaniard, with his current deal expiring at the end of 2022.