The precarious position of Carlos Sainz Jr.

Currently overshadowed by team-mate Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz Jr. must quickly find the rhythm for the 2022 Formula 1 season in order to avoid the famous label of “number two” at Ferrari.

Formula 1 icons Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa, Eddie Irvine and even Kimi Raikkonen are among the most talented drivers of their respective eras who were inevitably cursed by the Scuderia’s second seat due to falling behind their teammates. .

Ferrari has a ruthless reputation for prioritizing the team’s success and sequestering its “standby” driver in a way that makes Valtteri Bottas’ time at Mercedes independent.

That same scary precedent began to appear again at Maranello, as the team in red returned to the top step of the podium as the true challengers after an abnormal window of disappointment.

After being consistently beaten by teammate Charles Leclerc in the first two events of the 2022 season in terms of qualifying and race pace, Carlos Sainz Jr. must assert himself as a championship contender.

Otherwise, he is sure to be deprived of the opportunity.

After beating Leclerc in identical machines, who owned the top three last year, in his debut season with Ferrari, the Spaniard had seemingly made an instant integration with the team and put himself on a winning footing. equality with “the chosen one”.

Going into a season of new regulations, Leclerc appeared much more confident in the equipment under him, probably after his development had been adapted to the riding style.

Sainz has only tied with Red Bull number two driver Sergio Perez so far in the season. It’s an unwelcome contrast for an aspiring world champion so early in the year, especially as we enter a crucial part of the calendar in which the characteristics of Ferrari’s high downforce car should bear fruit.

With a string of respectable results over the next three races, Sainz will head home for a Spanish Grand Prix in which, for the first time, he should have a real shot at a podium – and perhaps take unfathomable momentum with a win on home soil.

This race is directly followed by the Monaco Grand Prix, and we cannot ignore Leclerc’s “toxic” relationship with his home circuit.

From this point on, there are still several races to build on before the summer break. But this part of the schedule will be a vital part of determining Sainz’s season prospects.

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