McLaren surprisingly finished on the podium for the second time in the last three races. This time it wasn't Carlos...
After a fantastic year for Carlos Sainz in 2019, the Spaniard hopes to continue his fine form in 2020. Together with team mate Lando Norris, the 25-year old driver have put McLaren back on the Formula 1 map after years of misery.
The new Fernando Alonso?
Carlos Sainz jr, son of Rally racer Carlos Sainz, already impressed in his karting days. After victories in, among others, the Junior Monaco Kart Cup, the Spaniard moves on to Formula BMW in 2010. That same year Sainz was included in Red Bull's junior programme and everything seemed easy. In 2011 Sainz won the Northern European title of Formula Renault and was just short of winning the European Cup that same year. What followed was not the series of great results that the Spaniard had hoped for.
The transition to the GP3 didn’t go well and in Formula 3 Sainz didn't come close to the title either. It was only with DAMS in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship that the Spaniard got another chance to show his best side by taking the title. At the end of the 2014 season it was announced that the Red Bull-junior would take the next Formula 1 season in the Toro Rosso.
Verstappen versus Sainz
With Max Verstappen next to him at Toro Rosso, Sainz managed to bring out the best in himself. In his debut race in Melbourne, the Spaniard immediately grabbed points for Toro Rosso and went on to do that eight times that season. Nevertheless, Sainz finished a few places under Max Verstappen in the championship, as the Dutchman managed to take fourth place twice with his Toro Rosso.
Where the 2016 season started with the same driver duo, it's Verstappen moved on to Red Bull Racing after four races. Daniil Kvyat returned to Scuderia Toro Rosso to form the new team with Sainz. Sainz proved himself once again and finished with 46 points on P12 in the championship, two places higher than Kvyat, who still had a podium finish with Red Bull to his name.
With Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz as a duo, Toro Rosso started the 2017 season unchanged. After Sainz finished fourth in Singapore, it was also confirmed that the Spaniard would not return to the same garage the following year. In fact, starting the American Grand Prix, Sainz would join Renault as a teammate of Nico Hulkenberg. All part of the big exchange between Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Renault and Honda.
In exchange for the Spaniard, Toro Rosso was allowed to end their contract with Renault and switch to Honda: something that would allow Red Bull to see if it would be worthwhile to also switch to the Japanese engine. Carlos Sainz was lent to Renault, but was still under contract with Red Bull.
In 2018 Carlos was allowed to drive for Renault, but there was constant uncertainty in the mind of the Spaniard. Nico Hulkenberg had nothing to worry about and finished the season in seventh place. Three places behind and thirteen points poorer, Carlos Sainz had to fear for his place. Only if another teammate could be found next to Pierre Gasly at Toro Rosso could the Spaniard go his own way.
In 2019 Carlos Sainz finally found peace at McLaren in the blossomed team led by Zak Brown, Andreas Seidl and James Key. The 'Smooth Operator' impressed with a sixth place in the championship and put McLaren, together with his British teammate, back closer to the top with a P4 championship finish..
Carlos Sainz in 2020
After a sixth place in the Formula 1 drivers' championship there doesn't seem to be much to gain for Sainz, who still has to be careful with the young Norris in 2020. In 2019 Sainz was even better in the races, but in qualifying Norris was regularly a lot faster. The relationship between the two was beautiful, but what if McLaren's car is even better and competes for the podiums and wins?
Latest Carlos Sainz news
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