Sainz: Real Madrid had five minutes to turn things around – I have 19 races!

By Sports Desk May 06, 2022

Real Madrid's dramatic Champions League turnaround against Manchester City showed Carlos Sainz he has plenty of time to get his Formula One season back on track. 

Riyad Mahrez looked to have done enough to deny Madrid a place in the final of Europe's premier club competition on Tuesday but two last-gasp goals from Rodrygo forced extra time at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Karim Benzema's penalty then gave the Spanish giants a 6-5 aggregate semi-final victory to book their place in the showpiece match against Liverpool. 

Madrid fan Sainz is finding himself under pressure to turn things around at Ferrari, having been forced to retire in the opening stages of the previous two races. 

Ahead of this weekend's maiden Miami Grand Prix, Sainz joked that anything is still possible for him this season given the feat Madrid managed to pull off. 

"Missing the 600 kilometres [of the past two races] hurts me more than the zero points, because the kilometres are what make you learn about the car and the new regulations," he told AS. 

"I did a test in Imola in which I also had a problem, but we are recovering as best we can. It's part of the athlete's life. There are always better and worse moments. 

"The last two races have not been ideal – far from it – but we have also had a bit of bad luck. Now we want a clean weekend to try to recover. 

"Madrid had it worse. I have 19 races left. Madrid had five minutes left!" 

However, Sainz revealed that promotional duties meant he missed Rodrygo's late double. 

"It was amazing. I missed the last few minutes of chaos because I was in the middle of an event with Shell. It shows that nothing is decided until the last minute," he added. 

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    A first-half penalty from Haaland was followed by a typically clinical finish when the big-money signing after the break, as the champions picked up three points from their opening game. 

    With Haaland seen as the striker Pep Guardiola has been lacking since Sergio Aguero's departure, it was fitting that the new arrival became only the second City player to score a brace on his Premier League bow, with the former Argentina international being the other in August 2011.

    Hammers boss David Moyes was forced to start full-back Ben Johnson at centre-back alongside Kurt Zouma, with Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop and new signing Nayef Aguerd all out injured.

    It took a while for City to get going, and they thought they had taken the lead when a neat move down the left led to Haaland playing in Ilkay Gundogan, who squared for Kevin De Bruyne to sweep home, only for the offside flag to go up.

    Moyes's injury problems mounted further as Lukasz Fabianski had to go off after taking a knock in a challenge for the ball with Haaland, Alphonse Areola replacing him.

    One of Areola's first contributions was to bring down Haaland when he was through on goal to concede a 36th-minute penalty, which the Norway striker dispatched calmly, sending Areola the wrong way.

    Declan Rice skied a presentable chance over after a Gundogan error early in the second half, and some uncharacteristic misplaced City passes crept in as the Hammers looked for an equaliser, turning to their own new striker Gianluca Scamacca to come on just before the hour.

    Haaland struck again after 65 minutes, though, when a City counter-attack saw De Bruyne slide his new team-mate in and the former Borussia Dortmund man placed his shot coolly past Areola to seal the points.

  • Zarco 'surprised' by Silverstone crash as he misses out on first win Zarco 'surprised' by Silverstone crash as he misses out on first win

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    The Pramac Racing driver started the British Grand Prix on pole as the season resumed following a five-week break and was able to maintain his lead in the early laps of the race.

    A crash at turn eight on lap five ended that charge, however, with Zarco initially continuing but later returning to the pits and retiring from the race.

    It was the eighth time in the premier class that Zarco has failed to turn pole position into a victory, and he felt his tyres were the reason why he missed out again.

    "The warm temperature pushed me to take this medium front – that was a good tyre anyway because Pecco [Francesco Bagnaia] won on it, but it seemed for me, it was the reason of the crash, because there’s always a bit less grip with this tyre," he said.

    "But I was too worried to go with the soft one and not finish the race on a good pace, overall. The medium one, I knew it pretty well, so that's why I was quite confident, and the first laps were pretty good.

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    Zarco's failure to finish saw him drop to fifth in the championship standings, now sitting 66 points behind leader Fabio Quartararo - with Sunday's race at Silverstone being a missed opportunity to close the gap, as the Monster Energy Yamaha rider only finished eighth after having to serve an early long-lap penalty.

    The championship standings do not paint a pretty picture for the Frenchman, but he believes further opportunities will arise.

    "I hope I will be in good form again in Austria, because what I could feel during this weekend and even during the race helped me to grow on the Ducati and get even more feeling as I want," he added.

    "So, yeah, the most positive of today is this feeling that I could take during the race, and understand even more this tyre that sometimes seems a tricky choice, because for nothing you can be hero or zero."

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    The Ducati rider came off the five-week break 66 points behind the championship leader but capitalised on Fabio Quartararo's struggles, closing the gap to 49.

    Johann Zarco, who started on pole and third in the championship standings, saw his hopes of a first MotoGP victory end after he crashed out in the lead, which will also have a significant impact on his title chances.

    With Quartararo affected by a long-lap penalty and Aleix Espargaro – second in the standings – carrying an injury, Bagnaia's win saw Ducati secure another podium.

    Quartararo had an excellent start and immediately propelled himself to second on the grid behind Zarco before serving his long-lap penalty on the fourth lap, subsequently returning to the field to take fifth as he crucially came out ahead of Maverick Vinales.

    Zarco's hopes of securing a maiden MotoGP victory ended the following lap, crashing out in the lead, leaving Jack Miller and Alex Rins to challenge for first – the latter having surged from 11th at the start.

    Espargaro, having been a doubt for the race after a high-side in practice on Saturday, was unable to compete and fell down the field, though the dent to his Championship hopes was not as severe with teammate Vinales overtaking Quartararo on lap nine.

    Three laps later, Bagnaia made his move and became the fifth different leader of the race, while Miller rose to second soon after with Rins looking vulnerable heading into the closing stages.

    Vinales jumped further up the standings in the final laps, taking Rins, Miller and then Bagnaia to cap off a stellar drive, but he could not retain the lead, with Bagnaia's title hopes boosted by two consecutive victories.

    Quartararo finished eighth, narrowly ahead of championship rival Espargaro but both will now be worried about the title charge of Bagnaia.

    TOP 10

    1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati)
    2. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) +0.426
    3. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.614
    4. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) +1.651
    5. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +1.750
    6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +2.727
    7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +3.021
    8. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +3.819
    9. Alex Espargaro (Aprilia) +3.958
    10. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46) +6.646

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Riders

    1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) - 180
    2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) - 158
    3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) - 131
    4. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) - 118
    5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) - 114

    Teams

    1. Aprilia Racing - 240
    2. Ducati - 238
    3. Monster Energy Yamaha - 206
    4. Pramac Racing - 195
    5. Red Bull KTM - 179

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