Carlos Sainz targets home Spanish Grand Prix glory as Ferrari team-mate Leclerc takes pole

By Sports Desk May 21, 2022

Carlos Sainz declared he is "ready to fight for it" as the man from Madrid chases Spanish Grand Prix glory on Sunday.

The Ferrari driver, 27, has had nine podium finishes in his career but has yet to take the top step, and doing so at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya would be ideal.

Ferrari have won this race 12 times previously, secured 38 podium finishes and earned a record 485 points, and it will be up to Sainz and pole-sitter Charles Leclerc to follow the illustrious example of Prancing Horse greats of years gone by.

Sainz has collected points in each of his seven Spanish Grand Prix appearances, finishing between sixth and ninth each time.

He has loftier ambitions for Sunday's race after qualifying in third position, behind Leclerc and last year's champion Max Verstappen, but knows that however well he might drive, other factors will come into the equation, not least how the tyres cope in the sizzling Barcelona heat.

"I think there's two key aspects," Sainz said. "There's the start and the tyre management that you need to get right to win here. Strategy, obviously being more than one stop, will be key also.

"There's many things in a 66-lap race that can happen. I'm ready to fight for it. Ready to get a good start, ready to try to get ahead. Ready to try and push from there."

Referring to team-mate Leclerc and Red Bull's Verstappen, who have respectively won twice and three times in the five races held so far this season, Sainz accepted both were a hard act to match.

The home favourite said: "Obviously, these guys have proved they have very good pace [on Saturday] and recently, but I think anything's possible."

This is the 52nd Spanish Grand Prix and the 32nd to be staged at this particular circuit. Of the previous 31 winners at the race's current home, some 28 have started on the front row. Two have come from the second row, while only Fernando Alonso, who started from fifth in 2013, has gone on to win from further back on the grid.

Sainz has observed the rear of his car is "very light" and suggested that consequently he was having to curb his natural instincts.

Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies urged caution about race prospects, saying rival teams might prove more competitive than proved the case in qualifying.

"And I think that any aspect, from the start to tyre degradation, which will probably be the highest we have seen so far this season, could make the difference," Mekies said.

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