Gap to top teams a "complete joke", says Sainz

The advantage that Formula 1’s top three teams have over the rest of the field has been labelled as a "complete joke" by Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz.

Gap to top teams a "complete joke", says Sainz
Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, leads Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, leads Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, leads Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12, leads Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, and Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32

F1 had been expecting Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull to have the edge this year, but the extent of their advantage over the midfield pack has caught some by surprise.

In Australia, Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time was nearly two seconds faster than Romain Grosjean’s midfield-leading Haas, while in China he was a similar margin ahead again.

For Sainz, whose team is fighting to emerge as the best of the rest this season, the advantage the big three hold has left him far from happy.

“For me they are in a different category,” he said. “I don’t even look at them. It is stupid. It is a complete joke the way that we don’t race against them any more. It feels for me a bit of a pain, but I am sure if I was in one of those two teams I wouldn’t mind for sure.

“To have 2.5 seconds [of margin], it is something I don’t enjoy and I am not sure even Lewis enjoys it.”

Sainz sees little prospect of the situation improving over the remainder of the campaign – and fears that the gap between the top teams and the rest will actually get bigger.

“I think it can only grow. This is my only regret,” he said. “I think it can only grow up because it means more money, and teams like Renault can also make the difference coming from behind with more budget.

“But I think [technical director] James Key is going to do a great job and we will bring some good upgrades and keep up some good battles.”

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