Top Gear: Lando Norris performs donuts after completing lap
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Carlos Sainz admits he is at a loss as to why he doesn’t receive the same media attention as the likes of Lando Norris or George Russell. Ferrari driver Sainz, 27, finished fifth in the drivers’ standings on 164.5 points, the highest place driver outside of Red Bull or Mercedes.
McLaren man Norris was sixth on 160 points, with Russell, who was essentially in an uncompetitive Williams car, was down in 15th place having amassed just 16 points.
The Spaniard, who also spent two years at McLaren and was teammates with Norris, notched four podiums in 2021, and was third in the dramatic end of season-finale in Abu Dhabi.
However, it was the two young British drivers who attracted much of the hype outside of the title race between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Russell, 23, was dubbed ‘Mr Saturday’ for his impressive displays in qualifying, the most notable coming in Belgium where he finished second – only losing out on first thanks to a last-ditch effort from Verstappen.
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When adverse weather meant only two safety car led laps were possible the following day, Russell secured a first-ever career podium – and his much touted move to Mercedes to replace Valtteri Bottas for 2022 was confirmed soon afterwards.
Norris, 22, was also in the limelight after helping his team to a first one-two finish for 11 years at the Italian Grand Prix, where he finished second behind Daniel Ricciardo.
He then took pole at the Russian Grand Prix, with Sainz and Norris behind him, but missed out on a maiden F1 win in heartbreaking fashion when a late downpour scuppered his lead, after a gamble to stay out on dry tyres backfired.
Sainz however, has said that he also gets recognition – if only from the people that know him well.
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During an interview with Spanish news outlet AS, he was asked if he felt undervalued when he reads a list of the “stomping drivers,” including Norris and Russell.
“People who have to take me into account, take me into account. And if not, ask Charles or Lando, who have seen my telemetry, my data, or even team leaders in which I have worked and competed,” he replied.
“There, as they know what I am capable of, they would value me very well.
“I don’t know, it’s something I try not to think about, because those who know me know what there is.”
Sainz, who also added “I have the reputation of a worker and not a talent, I do not know why,” will drive for Ferrari again in 2022 alongside Charles Leclerc.
And he has already predicted a more competitive season, with new technical regulations coming into F1 for 2022.
The new measures, which include restrictions on aerodynamic testing, are expected to make it more difficult for the likes of Hamilton and Verstappen to dominate.
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