Budding F1 Rivalry With Norris? Sainz Makes Verstappen-Hamilton Comparison

Published 01/01/2022, 10:00 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 11, 2021 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and McLaren’s Lando Norris during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES


Apart from Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, two drivers who put in exceptional seasons on an individual level were Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz. Both former teammates were engaged in a constant battle with each other in the mid-field, and in a way, a battle with their teammates as well.

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While in the constructors’ battle, Sainz’s Ferrari beat Norris‘ McLaren, in the internal battle, they came out on top of their teammates. But if one is to compare both of them against each other, then who had a better season?

This is something former F1 driver and 2016 champion Nico Rosberg explained.

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After the race in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg ranked Verstappen as the best and Hamilton as the second-best driver of the season. As for the third, as he was contemplating the third-best driver, Carlos Sainz walked by and helped him out.

“I was thinking about where do I put you, and we’re just debating third or fourth. We’re debating third or fourth with Lando,” Rosberg said to Sainz.

“Between Lando and I? He did a really strong season, so he would deserve it too,” Sainz said. He added, “It’s like Lewis and Max today, both deserved it.”

Rosberg asked, “So equal third? That’s what you want?” 

“I take equal third, especially with Lando,” Sainz replied.

So who did Rosberg rate higher – Lando Norris or Carlos Sainz?

“Definitely had Lando there, because Lando just had these..he had a difficult second half of the season,” Rosberg said. He explained, “He almost won his first race, he got a pole position, he had a second in Monza.”

“He had such high peaks, peaks of like really world championship level, exceptional driving. And that’s why I would’ve put him third definitely, and the ‘smooth operator’ Carlos is, therefore, fourth.”

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Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 25, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris celebrates pole position after qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov

Regardless, the ‘Smooth Operator’ had an exceptional first season. He finished fifth in the championship, beat his teammate, and managed a few podiums along the way.

As for next season?

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It shouldn’t be an exaggeration to say he could very well be a championship contender, and what’s great is that so can be Lando Norris.

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Shaharyar

488 articles

Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in future.

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