Sainz Feels Midfield Fight with World Champion is Improving his Race-Craft

Despite the recent slip in Toro Rosso’s form, Carlos Sainz is still getting the most out of battling outside the points with drivers like Fernando Alonso. It has been a relatively straightforward ride for the young Spanish driver at Toro Rosso since Max Verstappen’s promotion to Red Bull at the Spanish Grand Prix.

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 30: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 Ferrari 060/5 turbo on track during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 30, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY – JULY 30: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 Ferrari 060/5 turbo on track during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 30, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Daniil Kvyat’s return hasn’t provided Sainz with the same sort of inter-team benchmark at Toro Rosso, leaving Sainz looking elsewhere for comparisons. He’s found one in compatriot Fernando Alonso though, and had this to say:

“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 Perez, Grosjean, Bottas, 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.”

Carlos Sainz

carlos sainz toro rosso

Sainz currently sits 11th in the driver standings on 30 points, his best finish to date a 6th at the Spanish Grand Prix. It’s fitting that this result was overshadowed by Max Verstappen’s maiden victory in the Red Bull; the Spaniard was left celebrating in his car holding the Spanish flag triumphantly as his ex-team-mate took the limelight once again.

He’s surely earned another year at Toro Rosso at least, but points will become harder to achieve in the next few Grand Prix. Spa and Monza provide the Mercedes-powered cars with a clear-cut advantage and Toro Rosso will have to optimize their 2015-spec Ferrari power-unit if they are to score in the lower bracket of the points places.

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 10: Carlos Sainz of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso sits in his car in the garage during practice for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 9, 2016 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC – JUNE 10: Carlos Sainz of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso sits in his car in the garage during practice for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 9, 2016 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)