Carlos Sainz has met the press this past Wednesday at an event organised by his sponsor Estrella Galicia in his Madrid Karting Center, where he has taken a look at his first year with McLaren. He has both spoken about the toughest times at the beginning of the season as well as the happiest, highlighting his podium in Brazil.
The Spaniard has also spoken about next year’s objectives, which concentrate on maintaining the level of growth of the British team. Finally, regarding his future beyond 2020, time when his contract with the Woking team terminates, Sainz is confident that if they maintain the progressive pace of 2019 there is no reason to look elsewhere.
Tacking stock of 2019
“It’s true that I expected this to be a good year for me and for McLaren. I’m very happy. It was my fifth year in F1, a number that I am very fond of. Once again it has not failed me, in fact, it has exceeded my expectations and those of McLaren. But surely you can always keep improving”.
“I must have done something right. I am a version of myself which no one had ever seen before in my previous years in F1. During my first three years in Red Bull, I had an annual contract and you had to fight to climb up. There were good years but I had no stability or a mid-term project. In McLaren I do, and that brings stability.”
Baku: A turning point
“Yes, Baku was a key moment in the season. It is true that during the first three races I was very fast and I felt good with the car and was very comfortable with the team. For one reason or another, however, results were not coming in. From Azerbaijan on we were unstoppable”.
“Up until that point, it was hard because I knew we were doing things right. I was confident. The team was very supportive. They kept on saying to not worry and that results will arrive. That helped a lot for me to be confident and calm. That extra bit of confidence helped me to make results finally materialise.”
A magical moment: Brazil’s podium
“The weekend in Brazil was strange. On Saturday’s qualifying session I felt comfortable but suddenly couldn’t make a good classifying lap. On the way back to the hotel I was in an awful mood and it took me a while to fall sleep. I was worried about having a very bad race since I had to start from last. When I woke up, however, I was more positive and was looking forward to the race.
“From the beginning, I saw the car was doing a lot better and I started attacking on the first lap. I realised that everything was going really well and that overtake I performed was successful. After the last of the safety cars, I found myself in fourth or fifth position and I thought we couldn’t waste that opportunity. And we didn’t, and we got the podium”.
Waiting for the final decision
“We had to wait until after the race and I wasn’t sure it was going to happen. I preferred to think it wasn’t gonna happen to avoid disappointment. I kept on telling myself that it wasn’t going to happen”.
“Then we had to wait another hour and a half because of the DRS. When finally they told us that we were third it was a very special moment. We all went to the podium, all of the team as well as that from Estrella Galicia”.
Halfway through fulfilling a dream
“Getting that podium brought us halfway to fulfilling our dream. I have taken a very important step forward in my career. Some might think that it was about time after having disputed 101 Formula 1 races, but in the current F1, with six cars outperforming all others almost two times over, I didn’t really know when this moment could arrive for me. On top of that, I made it at a race where I started last, although it is true that other things also happened.”
Objectives for 2020
“So far there are no specific objectives. What I would like is for us in McLaren to maintain the level of progression that we have demonstrated in 2019, and for it to not stop during 2020 so that we can shorten our distance with the top players. After that, in 2021 we don’t know what will happen. Now we should focus on maintaining this upward trend and keep on improving.”
Images of Carlos Sainz: Estrella Galicia.