Life does the always afford everyone a second chance at redemption. Some don’t even get a chance at improvement- do they? But not everyone’s a certain Carlos Sainz jr., who begins from second on the grid at the upcoming Mexican Grand Prix.
And life has been much kinder to Sainz who despite seven previous runs at the Mexican Grand Prix has managed a points finish in just two occasions.
Just two. Not more. Both of these point scoring results came with his current team: Scuderia Ferrari, one each at 2021 and 2022, wherein the noted Spaniard scored a P6 and P5, respectively.
For a driver who has not just talent but the desire to get better and not to mention, the unquestionable very-Spanish willpower to lift his game, it’s rather disappointing that’s Carlos Sainz Jr.’s current record at Checo-land has been pitiably mediocre.
It’s so bad that it’s unreal. It’s certainly something that the 29-year-old would want to work on.
But that’s just mindless complaining, right? What is life without some statistical pearls, anyway?
Very well then.
The first time that Carlos Sainz jr. competed at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodrigues was back in the year 2015, a period of time where not two but four titans were on the F1 grid, to give a sense of how far back in time that was.
The likes of Kimi, Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton were on the same grid back then when avid youngsters like Sainz and Verstappen had broken through.
But in that rather forgettable run, then with Toro Rosso, the Spanish driver failed to score any points, garnering a rather lowly thirteenth (P13).
Not only was he outperformed by his Dutch teammate at Toro Rosso in qualifying, he also failed to beat Verstappen in the main race, whose ninth in the end impressed one endlessly.
Cut to 2016, the year where he scored 46 career points with Toro Rosso in just his second season in the pinnacle of motor-racing. Even then Sainz scored way beyond expectations; a P16 is all he could get. The car was nowhere as competitive to how he would have wanted and with Ferrari and Mercedes involved in such a well-contested fight throughout the year, the likes of the then youngster hardly got a chance to put on a show.
Although it wasn’t until 2017, where Carlos Sainz plunged to absolute gallows of despair at Mexico. That year he registered a DNF, such a disappointing sight for any driver.
However, that wasn’t all; another DNF came in the very next year and at the very event.
There were now two back-to-back DNF’s, which won’t look pretty to anyone.
And it wasn’t before the year 2019 that Sainz finally managed to score a position and not a DNF, even as a non” did not finish” doesn’t imply points scored. How could it when one manages such a sedate P13?
With 2020 having no F1 race at the famed venue, Carlos Sainz reached Mexico City again with the F1 circus to compete at the 2021 Mexican Grand Prix. Remember it was the year of the famous #Winnow strategy?
But rather emphatically, for someone who may have been so desperate to collect his first points at this remarkable venue, something he had hitherto failed at, the breakthrough, if at all, it could be summed yup came in 2021 in red racing overalls.
A vital sixth-place was achieved driving for a team with, which back in 2021, Sainz not only outscored Leclerc but managed to revive the fading hopes one had begun to have on a team that given its two previous seasons was bitterly disappointing.
Those who perhaps to day, find the phrase “Mission Winnow” childhish would be glad to remember that in his maiden season at the Scuderia, it was Sainz, not Leclerc who bagged more points; 164.5 points including a best finish of P2 at Charles Leclerc-territory, i.e., the Monaco Grand Prix.
Then last year, Sainz bettered his results even more at a track where he’d be delighted to score a podium. In the 2022 Mexican Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz collected an important, if not too impressive, fifth.
Going by the recent trends at this very venue, it would be baffling to say the least if the determined driver ends up with a mediocre race this time around.
There’s a front row position from which he begins today’s 71-lap contest just seconds off Leclerc, the worthy pole sitter.
In a sport where Red Bull are winning everything, it’s not too bad a sight to see ‘Sainz’ of dominant red especially here in the land of the other Red Bull driver; the minister of defence called Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez.
But then the classic rule of Formula 1, a bit too well understood for us to negate is, to be prepared for the surprising, if also, the absurd.
For instance, how’s it that Perez with all his talent and fighting instincts hasn’t yet won a Grand Prix in front of the home fans?
How’s it that the great Alonso, whose past colleagues, besides hanging out on Instagram, are changing nappies and maybe doing odd commentary and sometimes doing it rather drearily enough (to put us to off to sleep), is only getting better?
That’s F1 for you. And that’s Sainz for you. A wonderful talent who took 150 Grands Prix to win his first, the driver who despite being nowhere close enough to challenge Leclerc on pure qualifying performance won a race in 2023 where Charles, who has more wins than him, hasn’t yet won one!