Carlos Sainz insists he is still not bothered about playing second fiddle to his high-profile Toro Rosso teammate, Max Verstappen.
Initially in 2015, it was 17-year-old Verstappen’s age and inexperience that hogged the headlines.
But now, the young Dutchman has divided paddock opinions in terms of whether his big crash in Monaco showed his courage and racing instinct, or proved that a teenager is not ready for F1.
Fellow rookie Sainz, 20, has been playing a public supporting role in 2015, but in reality he has been a match for Verstappen all season.
Sainz, in fact, has 9 points to Verstappen’s 6, while the pair are 3:3 in qualifying.
Speed Week quotes the Spaniard as admitting the Verstappen hype is somewhat masking his own performance in 2015, “but I have to accept that”.
“It’s not the important thing,” he insisted.
“For me, the important thing is that the team is thinking about me — (Red Bull official) Dr Helmut Marko and (Toro Rosso boss) Franz Tost.
“If the media and therefore the public does not have me on the radar, that is a lower priority for me,” added Sainz.
He said the early races of 2015 have gone “a little better than I had imagined”.
But “My goal remains the same as it was before the season — learn as much as possible, show good performance, and let the rest take care of itself,” added Sainz.