Sainz urges title rivals to fight fair and prove ‘we are still a sport, not only a show’

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton must put on a fair fight in the championship-deciding race for the sake of Formula 1’s image, says Carlos Sainz Jnr.

The Ferrari driver, who was Verstappen’s team mate in 2015 and 2016, said “it’s the ideal scenario for Formula 1 as a sport” for the championship to come down to the final race with the top two tied on points.

Sainz said both drivers have “done incredible seasons” and are “both driving at an incredible level.” However following a controversial race in Saudi Arabia including several run-ins between the pair, Sainz admitted he is concerned by the potential for an acrimonious end to the season.

“From my side, I just wish that they can keep it clean this last weekend and give it a good showdown,” he said. “For the image of the sport, more than anything else. For the benefit of Formula 1, and that we are still a sport not only a show, and show good sportsmanship and a good showdown in the grand final.”

The fight between the pair has been “super exciting”, said Sainz, who watched last weekend’s race as soon as he returned to his hotel on Sunday evening.

“When I went back to my room on Sunday night I tuned in and replayed the race just to see what the hell happened there upfront and why was everyone talking about what had happened,” he said. “When I had the chance to watch it you realise how tight this battle is, how every race you have a fight between the two championship contenders and how some exciting and how ideal it is for Formula 1.”

However he admitted he has been disappointed by some of the reaction to the contest on social media.

“Unfortunately on Twitter and social media there’s a lot of polarisation. A lot of, I wouldn’t say abuse between both fans, but very polarised, and it makes the fight a bit less exciting when you see the two sides fighting each other so much.

“I think it’s just better just to be a bit more neutral, enjoy the fight and let the best man win.”

He declined to name which driver has impressed him most so far this year. “I’m not going to comment personally, who’s been my driver of the season, particularly because if I will say one, then one side will criticise me and say ‘no, Lewis has had a better car’, if I say Max… it’s too polarised.

“I just don’t want to take a stance because it doesn’t make sense. Looking at how polarised – I am repeating myself – it is in social media.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

17 comments on “Sainz urges title rivals to fight fair and prove ‘we are still a sport, not only a show’”

  1. It’s a bit funny to realize that the drivers are basically the last people to see all what went down in the race.

    I think he is wrong about there not being abuse on social media lol. I follow some drivers on Strava who also love to cycle (and because I like to fantasize about cycling around Monaco). And people even put obnoxious comments there. Like, these are real people and driving is their job. championing and answering to random strangers on the web is not their 24/7 priority.

  2. Constantijn Blondel
    9th December 2021, 14:16

    “[…] it’s too polarised”. Very well put, Carlos – and I couldn’t agree more.

    I think it’s very important to keep in mind that this fight is only happening, and it’s only cooking up to these temperatures, because both Max and Lewis each are tre-effin-mendously awesome drivers. None of them is in the fight because they cheated their way to the top. Both of them were pretty naughty on several occasions, and I don’t have a problem with that.

    Do I want Max to win? Hell yes. Do I want Lewis to ‘lose’? Hell, no (I’ll be happy if he just ‘doesn’t win’). I mean, the Max-fan in me really hated the outcome in Brazil. The race-fan in me was immensely impressed by Lewis’s drive (and tbh I had the funny feeling this was where he’d be going to pull off one of those stunts of his). And the Lewis-hater in me? No idea … haven’t met him yet :)

    1. Yea I have heard casual fans look at this season and their first basic conclusion is that these two guys are basically a whole level above the rest even considering they have the best cars. We look at it from a smaller perspective or as partisans so don’t appreciate what we are seeing.

      1. Constantijn Blondel
        9th December 2021, 16:24

        Don’t get me wrong, I think the smaller perspective also has interesting things to tell. It’s just that whenever something gets emotionally charged and polarized, like it is now, I try to take a few steps back and take everything with a few more grains of salt than usual.

        There are tons of small-scale perspectives, and together they make up the large-scale perspective :)

  3. Fairness? Is this a dig to Ferrari management for not telling Charles to give him back his position?

    1. i hope your comment is sarcastic… Sainz is talking about the title contender not Ferrari Mgmt

  4. Says the guy that is only in ferrari because his family is friends with the Agnelli’s.

    1. What does it have to do anything with the comments he made on title fight?

    2. @peartree Regardless of whether or not that’s the true reason (doubtful), how is that relevant to anything he’s saying? Yet another ludicrous comment from you, you just can’t help it.

      1. @tflb +2 @ferrox-glideh @rockgod he does not have the integrity or moral high ground to opinionate.

        1. Of course “who you know” is important in getting an F1 seat, that is the way of the world. Sainz has done well in his first year in the car, and his opinion is as valid as any drivers. His opinion also seems measured and fair in this instance. Did he say something rude to your little sister?

    3. Sainz was asked a question and he answered it. Did you even read the article, or are you just stirring the pot?

      1. That guy is the type of fan that Carlos was calling out for being toxic.

  5. Spot on Carlos. Couldn’t agree more. Let’s just hope next year that we have more drivers/teams fighting for the championship than just 2. Oh please! No more of this polarising crap and cat fighting. Gad enough!

  6. So glad Carlos has the integrity to stand and say what he has.

    FIA make the racing a sport yet they’ve been turning the sport into a farce by not enforcing the rules consistently and blindly.

    Yuki sends 1 up the inside of Lance, makes the apex and lance turns in as he’s not noticed him and Yuki gets a penalty, Max undertakes Hamilton, who was ahead, on the same corner, misses the apex as he’s no intention of reaching it and runs off the track while Hamilton avoids the collision by not turning in and runs wide as he has no option unless he is to collide with Max yet the FIA, as Max complained after last weeks race was inconsistent, ignores it.

    the FIA are meant to ensure the rules are adhered to but clearly apply the rules arbitrarily, even Max, Horner and Marko are complaining at how unfair it is.

    It’s up to FOM to chase popularity and make it a spectacle, not FIA.

  7. Sainz is being a bit naive here about the circus he participates in

Comments are closed.