Mar.15 (GMM) Carlos Sainz has kicked off his F1 career with a bang.
Insisting he does not like to be called ‘Junior’, the 20-year-old was the only Toro Rosso rookie to reach Q3 in Melbourne — despite the hype surrounding his 17-year-old teammate Max Verstappen.
“It is not a problem that people put him through the roof like that,” Sainz told the Spanish newspaper El Pais, “because it is true that reaching F1 at the age of 17 is not easy.
“But it is important for everyone to know that the pressure inside the garage is exactly the same for both of us. We both want the same results.”
In Melbourne, it is Sainz delivering the goods so far.
The Spanish press on Saturday pointed out that Sainz’s P8 on the grid is the best performance by a Spanish newcomer in the history of the sport.
Still, the hype of Verstappen’s F1 debut surrounds him.
“I will not be thinking about what Max is doing,” Sainz is quoted by El Mundo Deportivo, when asked about Sunday’s Australian grand prix.
“I’m focusing on myself, as I’ve been doing all weekend.”
One notable spectator in the Toro Rosso garage this weekend is Sainz’s father, the world rally legend Carlos Sainz.
Told that his son had just put in the best qualifying performance in Spanish F1 history, he insisted on Saturday: “For me that is not very important.
“What is important to me is that he has done well,” Sainz, 52, told Antena 3 television.
“Others did not have this opportunity but he did and he took advantage of it. Now he will try to have a good race too.”