The 2018 season is drawing to a close. This has been yet another year where the top draws- Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes- have pushed the rest on the grid absolutely out of context.
But in a sport that celebrates the frontrunners on the grid, and where the 2018 season stands then, Hamilton, Vettel, and Raikkonen in that order, one wonders, where do talents like Carlos Sainz Jr. (Renault) stand?
Not an awful lot is reserved for the ones who lag behind, but are improving slowly and steadily to move ahead- isn't it?
One such man in that regard whose racing craft has impressed many is Carlos Sainz Jr.
The young Spanish driver may not be a shining knight of the sport at this point in time. But he's amongst those who are touted for brighter things ahead.
While his aggregate of 45 points with one more Grand Prix to go might not exactly earn him a bouquet of impressive sobriquets from the fans, but Sainz is a fighter and remains ever determined to prove himself.
Recently, speaking to celebrated F1 podcast Beyond The Grid, Carlos Sainz Jr. underlined his passion for the sport and discussed what keeps him motivated.
Having said that, it is worthwhile to note that Sainz, who partnered with the fiery and mercurial Max Verstappen in 2015, often out-qualified his teammate on most occasions than not.
This year, however, he's had to endure a difficult season that currently sees him on P12, behind Fernando Alonso, his role model, and Esteban Ocon.
In a candid discussion, Sainz shared a few interesting perspectives on his motor-racing journey the central highlight of which was the fact that Grand Prix racing is in his blood, being the son of celebrated Spanish driver Carlos Sainz.
In an interesting revelation, Sainz also threw light on his relationship with Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, a driver who has impressed him all throughout and someone whose humility has inspired him to stay grounded and focused.
While it does help to have a star dad who's had a strong association with Formula 1 racing, Sainz also shared that the real impact comes through the experience that passes on from a generation to another.
Interestingly, while everyone knows Sainz admires Fernando Alonso, the double world champion who the Renault driver holds an immense respect for, it's the late de Villota who Carlos Sainz Jr. truly thankful for shaping his Grand Prix journey.
Sainz shared that had it not been for his coaching- he may not have been able to do what he is doing in Formula 1. Insisting that his move to McLaren is a 'dream come true', the Spaniard all set to be the main driver for the side starting 2019, he also maintains that he's looking forward to his two-year contract with a team that holds as much history as reverence.
When asked about why they (McLaren) are not winning, Sainz narrowed it down to the overall package that the car possesses that poses only a slim challenge to the frontrunners like Mercedes and Ferrari.
However, he also insists that, while 'hitting the bottom of their racing fortunes' isn't really an expression that ideally defines McLaren, he shared his optimism in talents like James Key, the new McLaren technical director, will be able to revive the outfit.
"I am looking forward to working with James Key, as I've worked with him formerly at Toro Rosso, the car he was responsible for shaping," said Carlos Sainz Jr. on McLaren's racing future.
All that said, the most interesting part of Carlos Sainz. Jr's motor-racing journey is the sweet incident in childhood that perhaps pushed him in the direction he would eventually take.
Back in the day, as a 2-year-old, his father once found Sainz playing with a battery car and he was busy exhibiting some donut moves. From that point on, a fondness for racing was evident. As he would grow him, his father would direct his raw talent to a more meaningful direction, starting first with Go-Karting, even before he'd turn a teenager.
Here's an interesting highlight that stands out from Sainz' interaction on the podcast: "Racing fathers are quite tough figures as individuals. I think, one of the experiences in my formative years that shaped me was my outing with my dad on an ice-racing adventure at Sweden, as a 15-year-old where I understood the basics of rallying and the realities involved in racing against the clock; my father was immensely competitive with me."Published 15 Nov 2018, 19:41 IST