Carlos Sainz Jr: “You can’t have good results in Formula 1 without a good car”

Carlos Sainz, McLaren

Carlos Sainz Jr is a 26-year-old Spanish driver who has been racing in Formula 1 for only five years, yet has already changed three teams. Next year, Carlos will join Ferrari on a two-year contract. Now the driver is finishing the season with McLaren, where he has become a competitive driver during the two years with the outfit. We at Paddock magazine decided to ask him how he manages to achieve such results and what helps him move on after various misfortunes.

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Hello, Carlos! You’re performing so well this year. How big of a part does your car play in this?

Hello! At the beginning of the year, I couldn’t believe how good the car was! I was very happy with the first three races. Little by little, I managed to gain experience, and people around me found a good car balance for the rest of the season – but it wasn’t easy. The knowledge from last year’s car always helps, and the longer you are with one team, the faster you eventually become with that car. Unfortunately, we had difficult races in Mugello and Silverstone, but in general, the car is definitely a step forward, and that allows drivers to shine a bit more. Everyone knows that nowadays you can’t have good results in Formula 1 without a good car.

You didn’t have an easy race in Mugello, as you said. Could you tell me how to deal with negative emotions after an accident, especially if it was the fault of another driver?

Well, when there are accidents, you can’t control everything, but you can control your reaction. It is actually very easy to put emotions behind if you have the right mindset. When you have an overall good weekend racing-wise, and then you just get unlucky, you need to focus on the next Grand Prix.

But what motivates you most to continue working hard after such races?

I think what helps is that I’m having a generally strong season; I feel like I am driving as I should, dealing well with qualifying, with my starts. I managed to receive good results in Monza and Spain. It’s more a matter of being patient; being a bit ahead psychologically, especially with so many things happening.

The first podium is always special, but the way I drove in Monza makes me probably a bit prouder.

Yes, you had a great race at Monza. We’re interested in which Grand Prix is more special for you: the Brazilian GP of 2019 or the Italian GP of 2020?

Um, I don’t know. The first podium is always special, but the way I drove in Monza makes me probably a bit prouder. Also, you know Monza is going to be my home next year, so to go there and have such a strong weekend on that track also made me very proud! I finished that race knowing that I did my absolute maximum. Yeah, P2 was a bit disappointing, but I knew that it was a very good weekend overall.

What advice from your father was most useful for you in your life?

My dad has given me many advises. It’s very difficult to take one in particular. But… the most important one probably stuck with me since I was a kid. He said to me when I was young to get used to being kind, easy-going, and friendly with drivers and mechanics and the rest of the team. And to always focus on an objective in mind.

Good advice! I’m curious if you could imagine yourself in a different era in the history of Formula 1 – which team would you like to race for, and who would be your teammate? You can pick absolutely any team at any period in racing history.

McLaren and Ferrari. I would say 2007 when they were battling for the world championship. I think this is definitely one of the golden eras of Formula 1. About the teammate… I will choose Kimi, he must be a good teammate, but also Fernando or Lewis. Depends on which team I am racing for!

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