Sainz Happy To Find Pace After 'Rusty Start' To Australian Grand Prix

F1
Saturday, 23 March 2024 at 16:15
carlos sainz ferrari50
Scuderia Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz discussed his feelings after scoring a front-row start for the 2024 Australian Grand Prix.
Just two days ago, it was still unclear whether Carlos Sainz would be able to compete in the third round of the 2024 season at Albert Park Circuit.
The Spanish driver underwent surgery two weeks ago as he had to have his appendix removed and had very little time to recover and practice ahead of this weekend.
Many who saw him on Wednesday this week doubted his ability to drive an F1 car as the 29-year-old didn't even look like he could "move freely."
However, Sainz was determined to attend this Grand Prix weekend, so he started slowly during the first two practice sessions and then gradually increased his pace, moving closer to qualifying.
In qualifying itself, the Spaniard's performance didn't show any signs of problems. He was the fastest driver in Q1 and Q2 and could have been on the pole, but he missed out on it because he made one small mistake during his final flying lap.

Sainz had the pole in the bag, but he unfortunately made a mistake into Turn 9!😲 He was on par with Verstappen, but🟣braked too late into T9 and🟢had to lift in T10, losing around 0.4s! He started gaining again, but not enough Still, incredible post-surgery performance👏 #F1

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Nevertheless, his effort was good enough for P2 - front row start. Sainz told the media right after the qualifying session in Melbourne:

"It's been a tough couple of weeks, a lot of days in bed waiting for this moment to see if I could be here today."

"To make it to this weekend and then obviously to put it on the front row after leading through qualifying, I was almost not believing it, especially after how tough it's been."

The second starting position is bittersweet as it could have easily been a pole for Sainz. Nevertheless, the 29-year-old added he was very happy with the result considering the circumstances.

"But I’m very happy to be here, very happy to be challenging the Red Bulls this weekend. I was a bit rusty at the beginning yesterday but then I got up to speed and I could finally find the pace and I’m feeling good with the car."