Carlos Sainz Jr. felt he was able to perform to a level he knew he could achieve during 2019 thanks to the knowledge of having a contract in place beyond the season with the McLaren F1 Team.
Following a solitary year with the Renault F1 Team, Sainz knew he would have at least two years with McLaren, and this year was the first real time that his future had been sorted out going into the off-season.
Knowing that his future was secure, Sainz felt relaxed enough to show off his talents during the year, with the Spaniard ending an impressive sixth in the Drivers’ Championship, with a maiden podium finish coming in the penultimate round of the year in Brazil.
“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,” Sainz is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.
“I knew that was inside, I just needed the right environment, I guess, and the right mindset. I never had that [security]. 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.”
Stability Gave ‘Extra Confidence to go for Moves’
Sainz admits he made a few changes to himself and his driving style between 2018 and 2019, with the Spaniard feeling extra confidence in wheel to wheel battle, so much so that he doubts the move he produced on Max Verstappen during the Bahrain Grand Prix would have happened before these changes.
“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 in Bahrain, that maybe before I would have thought twice about it,” said Sainz.
“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.”