While the signing of Toro Rosso team-mate Max Verstappen attracted the headlines and divided the F1 populace on grounds of his age, Carlos Sainz has also had a lot to prove in the early stages of the 2015 season.

The Spaniard, who was quick to persuade the media to drop the 'Jr' tag that came with being the son of a former WRC champion, finished ninth in his home grand prix at the weekend, adding two points to a tally that already sees him sitting at the foot of the top ten overall. However, following a period of 'will they, won't they' that ultimately ended with Toro Rosso opting to pair Verstappen with Daniil Kvyat, it appeared that Sainz was surplus to Red Bull requirements ahead of 2015 - only for Sebastian Vettel to quit Milton Keynes for Maranello and create a space for the Spaniard to graduate from the Renault World Series.

Since then, his position in the top flight has been called into question, but Sainz feels that the first five races of 2015, culminating in his home event at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday, has provided enough ammunition with which to fight his corner.

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"It feels great - exactly like I was planning and imagining to do when the season started," he said of the first quarter of the year, "They have chosen me for F1 and Toro Rosso, but I still see people have doubts, so it is my time to show everyone that Red Bull was right.

"After these first five races, I finally start to feel more comfortable in F1. It is still only the fifth race and there is a long way to go, but at least it has been a positive start."