Can Ferrari’s Sainz continue on a streak in Qatar?
Who has the longest streak of active points in Formula 1? A hint: he’s our engine of interest this week.
Carlos Sainz has finished in points in the last 12 consecutive races, a remarkable run for the Spanish driver in his first year with Ferrari.
Steady Sainz has actually completed all 19 races so far this season, collecting points in 17 of them. By a stroke of bad luck the two races Sainz did not finish in the top 10, he ended up just outside both times in P11.
F1 heads to the Losail International Circuit for the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday and it will be intriguing to see if Sainz can maintain his momentum on a new track.
Date of Birth: September 1, 1994 (27 years old)
Hometown: Madrid, Spain
Years in Formula 1: 7 (first season with Ferrari)
Registration number: 55
Career wins: 0
2021 ranking: 7th place, 139.5 points
Second-place Spanish Carlos Sainz celebrates with his trophy during the Monaco Grand Prix at the Monaco circuit in Monaco on Sunday 23 May 2021 (Gonzalo Fuentes / Pool via AP)
How it started
Like a few others on the grid, Sainz is the son of a former driver: Carlos Sainz Sr., two-time world rally champion.
The young Sainz was a fan of his Spanish compatriot Fernando Alonso, telling Formula1.com: “I met him in 2005 at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, and when I met him I came home and I said to my dad, ‘Daddy, I want to be like Fernando Alonso someday.’ “
Maybe a little too literally. Sainz followed in Alonso’s footsteps in F1 with eerily similar paths, both starting with Minardi / Toro Rosso before moving on to Renault, McLaren and then Ferrari. If that holds up, could Sainz one day come back to McLaren and compete in the Indianapolis 500?
He signed his Ferrari contract in his pajamas
Sainz explained to Motorsports.com the details of his contract signing with Ferrari and how, due to COVID-19 and lockdowns, everything was handled via Zoom.
“We had gone through all of the confinement with the family, and then one day I wake up around 8 a.m. and I’m still in my pajamas,” Sainz said. “I walk into this room, and I see my dad is ready with a pen. He said: ‘You have to sign here: this is the Ferrari contract. And it’s done if you sign. ‘ So I signed it in my pajamas at 8 am, right after waking up! I was like ‘Okay, hello to you too.’ “
Consider Sainz crossing the McLaren paddock at Ferrari this season as another chapter in a history book between two legendary teams with dedicated fans.
Ferrari and McLaren have had famous (and infamous) battles over the decades, from Niki Lauda against James Hunt in 1976 to Mika Hakkinen against Michael Schumacher in the late ’90s to Felipe Massa against Lewis Hamilton in 2008.
Both teams are synonymous with success in Formula 1, although in recent times they have not given way too much to Mercedes and Red Bull Racing.
Nonetheless, the rivalry has renewed for third place in the constructors’ standings, however, Ferrari has recently come out on top. Lando Norris scored the team’s only two points in Mexico and Brazil while Sainz and Charles Leclerc combined for a whopping 37 points and gave Ferrari a 31.5 point advantage over McLaren.
What McLaren has this season that Ferrari does not have is a race victory. To add insult to injury, it happened at the Ferrari track with Daniel Ricciardo and Norris finishing 1-2 at the Italian Grand Prix.
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, second left, of Spain, and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, right, of Monaco, chat before attempting free throws as former NBA players Chris Bosh, left, and Dikembe Mutombo, second from right, listen to the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix Auto Race at the Circuit of the Americas on Thursday, October 21, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (Darron Cummings / AP)
The streak is almost over in Brazil
Sainz’s point streak nearly ended early in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix last Sunday when Norris made a bold attempt to pass him from the outside from the start.
Although Sainz came out unscathed, Norris suffered a flat tire and was forced to heal his car all around and in the pits for an emergency stop.
Sainz finished sixth after starting third while Norris was able to work his way to 10th place and score a point.
The other active sequence
Sainz also leads another active driver record, albeit a more dubious one: most races started winless at 137.
He’s also ninth on the all-time list but still has a long way to go to “catch up” Andrea de Cesaris at 208.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz drives his car during the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Sunday November 14, 2021. (Andre Penner / AP)
What better way to conclude than with the song by Sade which came out 10 years before Sainz was even born but which has become his theme.
The story goes that the song stuck with Sainz (and probably now yours) during the 2019 British Grand Prix and from there he started singing it again after other successful races.
After finishing his last race with McLaren last season, he parted ways singing one last time.
That didn’t stop Ferrari from having fun.
– Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) November 17, 2021