With Russell already qualified at the front row in Bahrain following a last-minute call by Mercedes to replace Lewis Hamilton, the young Englishman looks on track to take the first points and potentially climb to the first podium of his career.
And while many of his rivals say they are not surprised that Russell has done so well right out of the box, Sainz believes the situation proves that the spread of shape between cars is too large to allow his driving talent to shine.
He thought there was something wrong with the way Russell could only really show how good he was by getting into a car like Mercedes that allowed him to prove his skills.
“It just shows what Formula 1 is missing, by having a car that is two seconds apart when nearly the entire grid is three tenths of a second away because of the talent on the grid,” explained Sainz.
“It’s a shame that a guy who fights for P15 every weekend, all of a sudden when you put him in a race-winning car, he’s 20k from pole.
“If there is anything to me, it shows what F1 is missing, creates a much more incredible show if you can raise the level of the playing field and allow the riders to make more of a difference.
“Right now, when you’re one second or two seconds behind the pace, you can’t really see the last two tenths of the riders making the difference.”
McLaren team-mate Sainz Lando Norris thinks the quality of talent on the F1 grid means that many riders will do what Russell has done this weekend – but said there are still things Hamilton brings to Mercedes that few can match.
“We can all drive a car very fast, and maybe it’s just a car that suits George and maybe a lot of other drivers,” he said.
“If you want to win championships, you have to use Mercedes. So I think a lot of riders can do something similar and, in some races, take the fight to Valtteri or against Lewis.
“But there are many traits Lewis has, such as his consistency to be on the pole, the majority of the weekend and having a flawless race without mistakes. I think those are his impressive traits.
“I think if we go to Abu Dhabi maybe you will see a slightly different story. I think this is a track with four corners. If there’s a track where it might be easier for the driver to jump in a new car and do something special, it’s probably right here.
“So it will be interesting to see if George is at Mercedes next weekend in Abu Dhabi, if it will be the same story and whether he will be faster, or if he is just struggling a little more because he didn’t. does not know Mercedes like the back of his hand like Valtteri did. “