Carlos Sainz’s path to Red Bull questioned amid “No2 driver” worry

Damon Hill suggests theory for why Red Bull might overlook Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari, in the post race FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand
Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari, in the post race FIA Press Conference…

Carlos Sainz’s suitability as a “No2” driver could cost him a Red Bull move, Damon Hill says.

Sainz has no drive secured for 2025, when he will be replaced at Ferrari by Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull will also have a vacancy unless they opt to give Sergio Perez a new contract.

“It would be a travesty if Carlos doesn’t find himself in a front-running team next year,” ex-F1 champ Hill told Sky Sports.

“He deserves to be in a top team. He’s running at the front.

“What’s available? Mercedes is the obvious one.

“Red Bull? I can’t see how that works, with Max there.

“The team is run by the Verstappen family, isn’t it? It is basically their team.

“I can’t see how they will allow anyone…

“Unless he is prepared to be a good No2.

“But, then, Checo is doing a very good job there, doing that role.”

The delicate nature of being a No2 driver might be the key criteria for Red Bull to decide Verstappen’s teammate next year.

Perez, this year, has done a stellar job by finishing three out of four grands prix in P2 behind Verstappen, delivering Red Bull their dream result.

But the past two grands prix won by a non-Red Bull driver have both been won by Ferrari’s Sainz.

He has also overcome appendix surgery, which meant he skipped one round this year, to win in Australia and finish on the podium in Japan.

Ferrari, with Sainz and Charles Leclerc, do not operate with a policy of a No1 and a No2 driver.

But at Red Bull it is clear that Verstappen is the top man. And they might have doubts about whether Sainz will accept playing second-fiddle.

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