Norris Defends Sainz: 'You're Silly If You Underrate Him'

Thursday, 28 March 2024 at 07:30
carlos sainz ferrari47
Lando Norris, who used to be teammates with Carlos Sainz, explained why he doesn't believe the Spanish driver is underrated.
Norris has been with McLaren ever since his first season in F1. When he joined the team in 2019, he worked with 5-years-older and more experienced Carlos Sainz for two seasons.
The two are famous for their great relationship, which earned them the name "CarLando." Things have moved on, as it is now the fourth year since they drove alongside each other.
However, the 24-year-old still knows the Ferrari driver very well, and when he was asked after the 2024 Australian Grand Prix whether he thought Sainz was underrated, he replied:

"Yeah, there's no reason anyone should think he's underrated. I think for the people who know him, know what he's capable of doing, know his effort level, his approach and dedication to wanting to be one of the best, exactly like he's proved today, and over the last couple of weeks."

The most recent Grand Prix was very special because, firstly, it was the first in 10 races that a driver different from Max Verstappen from Red Bull won.
And secondly, the driver was Sainz, who was only two weeks after surgery for appendicitis. The 29-year-old didn't even know if he would be fit enough to race at all, not talking about matching lap times of the best. But in the end, he won the race.

"I'm sure you have plenty of drivers who probably wouldn't have tried as hard and dedicated so much of their time and effort to trying to recover and get back in the race car."

"And I think that's just one example of it. But for the people who know what he's capable of doing, you would never ever say he's underrated."

Sainz's teammate, Charles Leclerc, also said he believed Sainz wasn't underrated by people who know him and that he was already in talks about the seat for 2025 with multiple team principals. Norris continued:

"And yeah, of course, results are always a bit of a point to show and people on the outside just easily judge things from what you see on TV."

"But when you've worked with him, when you know what he's capable of doing, and when things click, they click very well and he has performances like he does this weekend."

The Spanish Ferrari driver could have led the Championship at this point if he had participated in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Despite not attending one of three races, he is fourth in the Championship and lacks 11 points on the leader from Red Bull. His former McLaren teammate added:

"And I would say all year, he's proved to be a step up from maybe what he has been last year. Yeah, you're silly if you underrate him."