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Carlos Sainz, don’t call him junior anymore!

Finally victorious in Formula 1, at the end of his 150th Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz junior, son of the former world rally champion, is a central figure in the 2022 Formula 1 season. At 27, the Ferrari driver recounts his journey.

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Qhen we talk about the children of sports or entertainment personalities, it is customary to use the expression “he/she must have a first name”. So imagine the task of someone who also has the same first name as his father! Carlos Sainz junior, born September 1, 1994, son of Carlos Sainz, already double world rally champion at the time (1990 and 1992). Immersed in the world of motorsport, little Carlos developed a passion for karting from the age of 5. “I fell in love with Formula 1 during a visit to the 2005 Spanish Grand Prix with my father, my goal then was to become an F1 driver”, he says today. That day, he met his idol Fernando Alonso, who has since become a friend much more than an adversary, one of the first to come to congratulate him just after his victory at Silverstone. “It’s very special to have your rivals so happy to see me win my first race, it makes me proud, Sainz told us a few minutes later. I have a lot of respect for the other riders, I get on well with most of them, seeing them happy for me means more than you can imagine. ” In the paddock, opinions are unanimous, Carlos Sainz deserved to finally win his first victory at the end of his 150 Grand Prix. The day before, he had won his first pole position. In F1 history, only Sergio Perez has waited longer for his first laurels. The Spaniard’s journey has not been so simple. Of course, he comes from a very privileged background, of course, his father’s notoriety allowed him to find sponsors to launch his career in karting, but let’s not underestimate the weight of the way others look at a child.

PANORAMIC

“I had to face more difficulties than people thinkhe said. When I started competing in karting at 11, I was still seen as the son of Carlos Sainz. The other children looked at me differently, because my father was very famous in Spain, he was a mega-star. The other drivers and their parents were always scrutinizing my lap times, and I felt that extra pressure. When I finally got used to it, I saw the positive side of being his son, of having a double world champion by my side to help me, to advise me, in order to achieve my goal: become a Formula 1 driver.” Although he still regularly accompanies his son on circuits around the world, Carlos Sainz senior minimizes his role: “I’m especially proud of him, because he worked very hard to get there. He chose F1, if he had preferred rallying, surely I could have helped him a little more. I’m always there when he needs my advice, but it’s increasingly rare, he knows what he has to do. From now on, I am like a supporter. ” Still active in rally-raid, triple winner of the Dakar (the last time in 2020), Carlos Sainz has a reputation for being active behind the scenes in the paddock, lobbying to defend the interests of his offspring. Spotted by Red Bull in 2010, he joined the ranks of the Austrian brand’s Junior Team to climb the promotion ladder to F1. Red Bull driver manager Helmut Marko recalls: “For a long time, Carlos lived in his father’s shadow. He unfairly had the image of the spoiled child when on the contrary, he had to fight to get there. He was extremely fast in the lower categories. For his first F1 run, in testing at Silverstone, he was slightly quicker in the fast corners than four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who was our benchmark at the time. ”

PANORAMIC

F.GOODEN/DPPI

PANORAMIC

A sincere complicity with Leclerc

Promoted to Formula 1 in 2015, he started at Toro Rosso, alongside another rookie, three years younger than him: Max Verstappen. “He was unlucky starting out as a teammate for Max Vers-ta pp en, recognizes Helmut Marko. The atmosphere between the two was toxic at Toro Rosso. He couldn’t stay in the Red Bull family, so he was let go to Renault at the end of 2017, then he joined McLaren in 2019 and finally Ferrari last year. ” Very skilled in analyzing situations and learning lessons from the past, Carlos Sainz never again had a conflictual relationship with a teammate, on the contrary. His friendship with Lando Norris at McLaren, and now his complicity with Charles Leclerc at Ferrari are sincere. “I think a good understanding helps to improve the overall performance of the team, he explains. With Charles, it’s cool, we’re from the same generation, we share common interests, we have identical values, we have fun. We spend two hundred days together every year, I’m not going to stop talking to him just because he’s my teammate. ” The relationship between the two men, who last year formed the youngest Ferrari driver duo since 1968, does not seem to be deteriorating despite their battles this season. “Carlos is a top person, we get along really well, when we’re out of the car, says Leclerc. In the car too, we know how to respect each other, we know that the team comes before us, even if there were a few battles, we always talk to each other afterwards. We share the same interests: golf, chess, padel, it’s cool, we have a good laugh. ”

But in Formula 1, your teammate is also your first opponent. Charles Leclerc is as much an opportunity as a problem for Carlos Sainz. A chance, because the rating of the Monegasque is high, so when the Spaniard is ahead of him in the championship in 2021, the image of Sainz evolves, we imagine him as a possible leader of the Scuderia.

But the start of the 2022 season erased everything. At the wheel of a high-performance car, capable of winning races, Sainz suffered the domination of Leclerc for months. Usually a reliable driver (no retirement in 2021), the Spaniard came off the track in two consecutive races, in Melbourne then at Imola. This feverishness then seems to condemn him to the role of lieutenant of Leclerc. But, resilient, he was able to bounce back and take advantage of his teammate’s setbacks, to stay in touch mid-season. “On my good days, no one can beat me, he says. I need to become more consistent so that I don’t have bad days anymore. I am critical of myself, I know my weaknesses, and I try to take advantage of my experience to give the best in all circumstances. ”

Despite his results, Carlos Sainz has not erased all doubts about his ability to fight for the title, in order to become world champion like his father. He still has to prove himself to get out of the paternal shadow.

The holidays of Quartararo

After the July break, the Moto GP championship resumes this weekend at Silverstone.

The leader, Fabio Quartararo, ended his vacation with a stint at the Formula 1 Grand Prix de France. end of becoming free on a race, it’s great to take advantage of this GP. ”

The Frenchman even had the honor of getting into the Mercedes, while waiting to satisfy one of his dreams: to drive it!

INSTAGRAM

Rally Finland takes place this week without the two Sébastien, Loeb and Ogier, who only take part in certain events. Since the beginning of the year, they had managed to coordinate, to compete in Monte Carlo, Portugal and Kenya. But Ogier will have to do without Loeb in New Zealand in October. “I would have liked to, said Loeb, but the problem, as I do several championships, is that the races overlap. There, it will fall at the same time as Morocco in rally-raid. So I will probably do the Greece rally. ”

P. MARIA / DPPI

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