Sainz disappointed despite strong return from surgery

Carlos Sainz still feels some disappointment in missing out on pole position at the Australian Grand Prix despite qualifying in second place just 15 days after having his appendix removed.

Ferrari enjoyed a strong Friday in Melbourne and Sainz was then fastest in the first two sections of qualifying, but was beaten by Max Verstappen by over a quarter of a second in Q3. Sainz missed the last race in Saudi Arabia after being diagnosed with appendicitis, undergoing surgery on March 8, and says his physical state and lost track time leave him with a bittersweet feeling after qualifying on the front row.

“It’s a bit of, I think you can see it both ways,” Sainz said. “If you would have told me two weeks ago when I had my appendix removed that I would be in Australia ready to go again and fighting for pole position, I would have 100 percent taken it. But after being P1 in Q1, P1 in Q2 and knowing that I left some time on the table in Q3, it’s obviously a bit disappointing.


“But it’s normal also — with no qualifying in Jeddah I am probably a bit out of shape and probably also learning this new car after missing a qualifying session in Jeddah and a full race. So there are probably things I could have learned through qualifying in Jeddah that I could have applied to today that I couldn’t apply in Q3, and the car surprised me in a couple of corners once we started to crank in the flap, and it wasn’t the cleanest of laps.

“But like I said, if you had told me even five days ago that I would travel here still recovering and qualify P2 while fighting for pole, I would have taken it.”

Sainz says he has been continuing to recover even during the race weekend, also dealing with a psychological challenge based on how he feels in the car.

“At the beginning of the weekend I said I didn’t feel 100 percent and I think it’s impossible to feel 100 percent after spending seven to ten days in bed just trying to recover. But the good thing is that I had no pain, I just had discomfort and everything felt a bit weird inside, but I can push.

“Especially today I can push flat out. Yesterday at the beginning I took it a bit easy and tried to do some tweaks to the seat, to the belts and to the brake pedal. Today when the adrenaline came up in qualifying, I could close the visor and go for it, which is a good thing. Hopefully tomorrow I still do another step of recovery, putting a lot of emphasis on physiotherapy and recovery these days, I have been very focused around it and hopefully I can be OK.

“Without going into too much detail, I feel like it is exactly what Alex [Albon] told me before jumping in the car. He said when he had his appendix removed with the G-force and everything moving, it feels like it is moving more inside than normal and you need some confidence to brace the core and body as you used to before. But you get used to it.

“It’s something where there is no pain, nothing to worry about, just a weird feeling that you have to get used to while driving — especially in this circuit where you are pulling five or six G in some of the braking and some of the corners, so everything is moving but without pain, so I can deal with it and adapt to it also.”

Story originally appeared on Racer