Sainz: I never had the security I have now at McLaren

One of the highlights of the 2019 Formula 1 season is Carlos Sainz emergence as a genuine team leader at McLaren, throwing his hat in the ring to be one of the future stars of the sport and up there with the likes of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

For many, the jury was out on exactly what Sainz had in his arsenal. Now, after a season with McLaren, the verdict is that the Spaniard delivered a solid season to finish sixth in the championship easily Best of the Rest and beating both the Red Bull drivers (Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon) who spent half a season each in a race-winning car.

Meanwhile, when the Spaniard stepped into the team, the spectre of Fernando Alonso loomed over the it until Andreas Seidl moved into the driving seat and allowed his drivers – Sainz and rookie Lando Norris – to take centre stage and the team focussed on racing devoid of the polemics that plagued Woking for far too long.

As a result, both drivers have thrived and impressed, Sainz told Motorsport Network that he is relishing the new chapter in bis career, “I think this stability has given me a chance to show a bit of a new Carlos, that maybe the paddock in general or many people hadn’t seen, I knew that was inside, I just needed the right environment, I guess, and the right mindset.”

The 25-year-old from Madrid is on a multi-year deal with McLaren who were among the first teams to confirm their driver line-ups for next year which has added to his security, “I never had that. So even if you don’t feel it, and you don’t want [to think about it], there’s that pressure to bring results now.

“There’s been a few changes that I’ve made from 2018 to 2019, that for sure have helped, but mainly having that stability, having that extra confidence to go for moves, you know, for the move on Max [Verstappen] in Bahrain, that maybe before I would have thought twice about it.

“Because I need to bank in this P5 or P6 that I am at the moment – it is a very good result for me – let’s not attack Max so much, because he’s anyway gonna beat me at the end of the race.

“My mentality was: no, I’m just gonna push, I’m just going to try and do the best I can because I’m I have finally a bit of stability and a bit of a place where I can be myself more often,” explained Sainz.