Carlos Sainz sends Spanish Grand Prix threat to Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc

Carlos Sainz commits future to Ferrari until 2024

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Ferrari star Carlos Sainz has fired a warning at teammate Charles Leclerc and reigning world champion Max Verstappen as he believes he has a ‘real opportunity’ to win his home Spanish Grand Prix. The Spaniard is considered one of the best drivers on the grid but he is yet to win a race in Formula 1.

Sainz, who has been impressing fans since entering F1 with Toro Rosso back in 2015, is now challenging at the front of the grid in a car that is competitive. Ferrari have established themselves as championship contenders in 2022, with Leclerc leading the Drivers’ Standings through five races while collecting two wins. 

The Prancing Horses are also expected to be welcoming a number of upgrades to their car ahead of the trip to Barcelona after struggling to keep pace with Verstappen and Red Bull over the last few races. Ferrari believe their first big update of the season will pull them level with their rivals – if not put them firmly back in the ascendency. 

Sainz put in a fine performance to take third at the Miami Grand Prix last weekend after he made suffered in back-to-back weeks, failing to finish in both Australia and at Imola. However, the 27-year-old believes the Spanish Grand Prix presents the opportune moment for him to take the chequered flag. 

“It’s a real opportunity to make a podium or win a race at home, it’s a unique feeling that I’m really looking forward to,” Sainz told Motorsport.com. “It would be my first [victory] and for that reason it would be very special and, second, it would be at home.

“This is what I work for every day, trying to make it happen as soon as possible and the one who wants to win the most is me.”

Sainz enjoyed a welcome return to the podium in Florida after successive first lap crashes, and he finished behind race winner Verstappen and teammate Leclerc. The Spaniard is currently seventh on the list for the most race starts without a win in F1 history with 145 starts without a win.

While Sainz is some way away from Andrea de Cesaris’ record of 208 winless starts, the Ferrari star hopes his home crowd can roar him home to a maiden victory. Sainz added: “That they support me as much as they can, that every little bit they do is noticeable from the car.

“I’ve always noticed it, at home I’ve always done my best races, scoring points when I didn’t have a car to score points, and this year we have a car for a podium, we’re going to try to win and go for it.”

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Sainz has scored points in all seven Spanish GPs in his career, with his best result coming in 2020 when he finished P6. He is particularly excited to see the full stands as Spain continues to ease restrictions after the pandemic.

“I remember going to the grand prix in 2005 or 2006 and seeing the stands at full capacity when Alonso raced for the World Championship and won races, well I think that in 2010 and 2013 it was also full again, but not since,” Sainz said.

“To see it 100 percent, I think this year is going to be the first time in many years and it’s going to be incredible.”

The 22-race F1 2022 campaign – which is expected to return to a record 23 races in the near future once a Russian Grand Prix replacement is found – continues with the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 22.

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