Thanks in part to the stability of his two-year deal with McLaren, Carlos Sainz achieved a “big step” in 2019 as a driver and he intends on capitalizing on his gains to improve even more next season.
As McLaren led Formula 1’s fierce midfield battle this year, Sainz concluded the campaign sixth and as the first non-Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull driver in the championship standings.
The Spaniard’s performances have vindicated his choice of joining McLaren after he was ousted from Renault after just a single season with the French squad.
But more importantly, 2019 allowed Sainz to develop as a driver in a significant way, with still more potential to be untapped.
“I think still every area can be improved, but this year I’ve done a very big step, and I’m willing to build from here,” Sainz said
“This year was a big step for me, and I just want to continue that way. I’m finding little things to become a stronger driver.”
Sainz admits that the clarity on his future delivered by his two-year contract with McLaren provided him with a sense of stability, an essential factor in his ability to grow on a personal level, and a first for him since he started his career in F1 in 2015.
“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,” contends F1’s ‘smooth operator’.
“I knew that was inside, I just needed the right environment, I guess, and the right mindset.
“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,” he added.
“There’s been a few changes that I’ve made from ’18 to ’19, 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.
“[I had] this kind of mentality of ‘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.”