That year, he marked himself as one of the best drivers in the sport.
More than that, he has established himself as a team leader. When McLaren needed to fight in its quest to take ‘best of the rest’ status, Sainz stepped right up, taking third in Brazil.
The mark of the man was that he was no less impressive in his last-lap pass for 10th in Abu Dhabi; the single point he gained lifted him to sixth in the drivers’ standings.
Sainz is starting to look like another driver dismissed by Red Bull a little too early, with the driver securing a move from McLaren to Ferrari to take Sebastian Vettel’s seat in 2021.