Carlos Sainz is in his first year running for Ferrari. From this season onwards, the 27-year-old Spaniard will share the Maranello team’s pits with Charles Leclerc, a young Monegasque who since joining the team in 2019 has been treated as the great jewel of the present and the future. But Sainz isn’t intimidated by his teammate’s status within the team and makes it clear that he doesn’t want to be Leclerc’s number 2, as Rubens Barrichello did with Michael Schumacher between 2000 and 2005.
In an event promoted to the press in Madrid last Monday (20), Carlos warned that he does not think about being a new version of the Brazilian pilot in the Italian team. “Would you be happy to be a Barrichello with Schumacher? No, of course not!” Sainz said in a statement published by the local newspaper Marca.
“I want to be world champion. That’s why I fight every day, and only time will tell if I’ll be successful, but this is my goal”, cried the Madrid-born driver.
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Barrichello had 102 GPs for Ferrari and, in the period between 2000 and 2005, won nine victories, 11 poles and was on the podium in 55 opportunities. For the most traditional of the teams on the grid, Rubens had as best results the vice-championships in 2002 and 2004, as well as third place in 2001. Between 2000 and 2004, Michael Schumacher mended a golden streak by winning five of his seven world titles . The most emblematic episode between the two riders took place at the 2002 Austrian GP, when the Brazilian, already on the pit straight and very close to the finish line, made his way when he was leading to give the German victory at the Spielberg circuit.
Sainz, in turn, has a very competitive season in his debut year for Ferrari. In 14 races he took second place at the Monaco GP as the best result and inherited the third place trophy at the Hungarian GP after Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification. The fight with Leclerc is even: the Monegasque has 104 points and is sixth in the Drivers’ World Championship, against Sainz’s 97.5, seventh.
The Spaniard revealed that he did not have so many expectations upon arriving at Ferrari, mainly due to the lack of mileage with the new car and the fact that he still has to adapt to the team, but that, after 14 races, he sees the situation as a all much better, even though it has a long way to go.
“I arrived without expecting too much from myself, without putting very high expectations on myself because I had only a day and a half to learn, in total, what the car was like. I think I did 150 or 200 laps before the first race. You come to a team like Ferrari, you have to learn how the team works and in a race I have to ask myself to measure up,” he explained.
“I’m far from getting 100% [do carro], but then I see my position in the championship and close to who I am and where I want to be and then I say: ‘If I keep working like this, I don’t think it will take long,’” said Carlos.
When asked about the internal dispute against Leclerc, Sainz precisely highlighted the proximity of each other in terms of performance throughout 2021. “We are much more alike than you can imagine. We look at the information and we see that one takes three hundredths of a curve and another takes three hundredths of another. The classification in Zandvoort comes, and he is 0s006 ahead. In Monza, I put half a tenth”, said the Spaniard, aware of what Charles has as an advantage at the moment.
“I see him in the race with more confidence with the car. I’m not the aggressive Carlos of McLaren yet. I don’t have that last feeling with the car I would like to have. I want to be aggressive and take that last step in terms of starting and overtaking”, added the owner of the #55 Ferrari car.