‘Silly’ if anyone underrates Sainz – Norris

Carlos Sainz has stepped up another level so far this season and anyone who underrates him is “silly”, according to Lando Norris.

Ferrari has signed Lewis Hamilton to replace Sainz in 2025; the seven-time world champion to partner Charles Leclerc, who has come through the team’s driver academy. That leaves Sainz in search of a new home for next season, but after returning from an appendectomy to secure victory in Melbourne – a result that adds to his podium in Bahrain on his only other start this season – Norris says his former teammate’s quality is shining through.

“There’s no reason anyone should think he’s underrated,” Norris said. “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 [in Australia], and over the last couple of weeks.


“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.

“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 [in Melbourne]. 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.”

Sainz’s current teammate Leclerc agrees, and he expects the Spaniard to be in high demand as he weighs up his next move.

“I think everybody knows Carlos’ worth in the paddock,” Leclerc said. “He’s one of the highest-rated drivers in the paddock. And he’s been extremely strong every time he was in a Formula 1 car. And he has showed it multiple times. So I don’t think he’s underrated for that.

“I think everybody knows Carlos’ worth. And that’s why I’ve said many times that I’m not too worried about his future, because I’m sure that many, many team principals are… He doesn’t say it, but for sure they are speaking with him! And I’m sure he will have many opportunities and he’ll just have to make the best choice for his career.”

Story originally appeared on Racer