(GMM) Carlos Sainz Jr. has denied feeling jealous of the soaring popularity of his Spanish countryman and friend Fernando Alonso.
Sainz, 28, has been at Ferrari since 2021 – and he even won last year’s British GP.
Even so, it is two-time world champion and fellow Spaniard Alonso’s string of podium finishes so far in 2023 that have recaptured the imagination of the Spanish public.
“I see it and I understand it perfectly,” Sainz told the Cadena Ser program El Larguero.
“It is natural,” he added. “He has been a two-time world champion. So it’s not something that bothers or worries me.
“The only thing I want to emphasize is that I am in Formula 1 for myself, but also for Spain, to give my country podiums and victories. But for Fernando, after so many years in Formula 1, seeing that people have re-engaged has to be very nice.
“I think he is enjoying it,” Sainz added.
Indeed, while 41-year-old Alonso’s move to Aston Martin for this year has been impressive so far, Ferrari has taken a clear backwards step in 2023.
“Still, I can’t complain and I’m doing well,” Sainz insists.
“Formula 1 is always relative, and the car that Red Bull has made is one of the most dominant ever. Mercedes also seems to have found the right direction with that update.
“At Ferrari we are not where we want to be – we are the first to be self-critical. But that’s what it is at the moment and we are focused on getting the most out of it and improving.”
The Maranello team brought a package of updates to Barcelona last weekend but Italian insider Leo Turrini slammed them as a “total failure”.
Sainz said: “You don’t have to be a genius to know that Red Bull is very difficult to catch this season, which is not to say that Ferrari can’t do it or that we are not going to try.
“We are going to stay attentive to fish for a victory. But with such a dominant Red Bull who are under no pressure, it is difficult to force Max (Verstappen) into a mistake.”
However, Sainz thinks Ferrari can immediately bounce back in Montreal next weekend.
“I think Barcelona was the worst circuit for Ferrari,” he said. “Canada is the opposite so I will go for the podium there.”
Finally, Sainz denied that rumors linking other drivers with his Ferrari are affecting him “on a personal level”.
“When I put on my helmet and get in the car, I don’t think about whether someone else will be getting into my car,” he insisted.
“It is the time of year for speculation, but it is something that I have been exposed to for 8 or 9 years. It’s true that it does not help, but it doesn’t affect me on a personal level.”