With Russell having qualified on the front row in Bahrain after a last-minute call up by Mercedes to replace Lewis Hamilton, the young Briton looks on course to take the first points and potentially the first podium of his career.
And while many of his rivals say they are not surprised that Russell has done so well straight out of the box, Sainz believes that the situation proves that the spread of form between cars is too big to allow driving talent to shine through.
He thinks there is something wrong in the way that Russell can only really show how good he is by stepping in to a car like the Mercedes that allows him to prove his skills.
“It just demonstrates what Formula 1 is missing out from, by having cars that are two seconds apart when pretty much the whole grid could be within three tenths of a second because of the talent there is on the grid,” explains Sainz.
“It’s a shame that a guy that is fighting for P15 every weekend, suddenly when you put him in a race winning car, he’s 20 thousandths off pole.
“If anything for me, this demonstrates what F1 is missing out from, creating a much more incredible show if you could level the playing field a bit more and allow the driver to make more of a difference.
“At the moment, when you are one second off the pace or two seconds off the pace you cannot really see the last two tenths from a driver that makes a difference.”
Sainz’s McLaren teammate Lando Norris thinks the quality of talent on the F1 grid means that a lot of drivers would be doing what Russell had done this weekend – but says there remain things that Hamilton brings to Mercedes that few could match.
“We can all drive cars extremely quickly, and maybe it’s just a car that suits George and probably suits a lot of other drivers as well,” he said.
“If you want to win a championship, you need to be in a Mercedes. So I think a lot of drivers could do something kind of similar and, at some races, bring the fight to Valtteri or bring a fight to Lewis.
“But there’s a lot of traits which Lewis has, like his consistency to be able to be on pole, the majority of the weekends and have flawless races without mistakes. I think those are his impressive traits.
“I think if we go to Abu Dhabi maybe you’ll see a slightly different story. I think this is a track with four corners. If there’s a track where maybe it’s a bit easier for a driver to jump into a new car and do something special, it is probably here.
“So it’ll be interesting to see if George was in the Mercedes next weekend in Abu Dhabi, whether it’ll be the same story and whether he’d be even quicker, or whether he just struggles that little bit more because he doesn’t know the Mercedes like the back of his hand like Valtteri would.”