Is Sainz Jr. losing sight of his A game?

With the new season underway, Sainz Jr.'s performance has been under scrutiny, leaving many wondering if he's lost his edge.

Carlos Sainz Vázquez de Castro, AKA Carlos Sainz Jr. is a Spanish racing driver. He competes in Formula One for Scuderia Ferrari. He is the son of Carlos Sainz Sr., who is a double World Rally Champion.

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Questions have been arising lately on what role he serves in his team. Sainz's first race was when he partnered with Max Verstappen and when Sainz moved to McLaren, the next “expected” driver was Lando Norris. 

Sainz moved to Ferrari in 2021. And being a Ferrari driver is not easy at all. People are watching every move of yours and the magnifying glasses are on you all the time. Any small faults are turned big and next thing you're on the headlines. 

When Sainz beat Charles Leclerc, he broke all odds, considering that Leclerc won the GP3 Series championship in 2016 and the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2017. All haters went quiet when Leclerc proved himself like that, and Ferrari for a moment was able to dribble the question on whether he was a number one driver.

However, somewhere between 2021 till now, Sainz has fallen off track, so him outperforming his rivals might not be on the cards anytime soon. In 2021, he was consistent but come 2022 it was rather the opposite. 

In Canada, he scooped a podium and in Silverstone he had a maiden win. However, that was ruined by retirements. In Bahrain, he was overhauled by Fernando Alonso for the final podium spot. In Saudi Arabia, he started eight places ahead of him, but before long Leclerc was on his case.

When you're part of a great team with great players, you often ask yourself what role you're playing/ you're going to play. Ferrari hasn't put a position tag on its driver's yet, but it's quite pretty obvious who the best drivers are, the ones who are most likely to put the team on the spotlight again. 

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Sainz was beaten by Leclerc in 2022: laps completed, points, podiums scored, average qualifying results, average race results, races won. Leclerc performed with a car that wasn't exactly at its peak in terms of speed, but could Sainz also pull it off? We wonder!!

Earlier in Bahrain, Alonso beat Sainz with such ease, something he never did with Leclerc. To get back on track, Sainz must really pull up his socks and return to consistency. His Ferrari contract ends in 2024, and he has to get his act together before then!

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