Sainz looking to end Bahrain curse in 2020 after five point-less outings at the track
Carlos Sainz might have built a reputation as one of Formula 1’s most consistent performers, but having never scored a single point in a Bahrain Grand Prix since his F1 debut season in 2015, the McLaren driver is keen to finally get off the mark here in 2020.
A combination of bad luck and various incidents have seen Sainz notch up four DNFs out of five starts at the Bahrain International Circuit – although he was classified 19th last year, having clashed with Max Verstappen early on before eventually pulling out with a gearbox issue – while in his solitary finish for Renault here in 2018, he ended up just out of the points in 11th.
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“Incredible – I don't get it,” said Sainz when reminded of his record at the track ahead of this year's race. “I feel I'm actually sometimes very quick here and I can qualify well, I can race well, it's just there's always something in Bahrain. Here and Belgium [where Sainz has recorded just one point in his career, and even failed to make the start in 2020], there's always something.
“Last year, I crashed with Max in Lap 5, the year before I think I had some reliability, then the year before that, I crashed with [Lance] Stroll and the trend continues into way before that. But it's a track I actually enjoy, I feel comfortable with, I'm fast.
“But I have two chances at Bahrain this time because we do a back-to-back,” added Sainz, referring to next week’s Sakhir Grand Prix on Bahrain’s Outer Track. “So hopefully that helps.”
By contrast, Bahrain is the circuit where Lando Norris scored his first ever F1 points in 2019 with a storming drive to P6, while he also won the Formula 2 Feature Race here the year before. And Norris said that that strong record here gave him confidence coming into the weekend.
“It's a track I really enjoy, I don't know why,” said Norris. “It's just got a good flow to it… I think it's just got a good characteristic of corners that suit my driving style in some ways.
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“But it's just a track I enjoy, and it gives me good confidence every time I come back here knowing it's one I've done well at in the past, and that's always a good confidence booster coming into that following year. So this year, it's coming off last year and getting my first points in Formula 1, which is a cool thing to remember.”
Norris and Sainz – currently separated by just one point in the drivers’ standings, with Sainz the driver ahead in P7 – will be hopeful of a good performance this weekend, with McLaren looking to claw back ground in the fight for P3 in the constructors’, with the team currently five points adrift of Racing Point in P4 – but 13 points clear of fifth-placed Renault.