Fondly known as El Matador, Carlos Sainz is Madrid’s racing royalty. Entering the F1 circuit in 2015, Sainz quickly showed his fighting spirit. A tenacious racer, no wonder he’s earned the nickname Chilli. But the Spaniard is intelligent as well as instinctive, thinking his way through a race and into the points. This calm temperament follows him off track where he remains unfazed by the pressures of forging a Grand Prix career with a famous name. He is the son of double World Rally champion, also his namesake, and has brought some of Dad’s driving skills to the F1 circuit – junior loves a delicious dose of drift for one.
After following in his famous father’s tyre tracks, Sainz had big racing boots to fill at McLaren. It is never easy living in the shadow of sporting giants, but Sainz has shown the drive and disposition to deal with it. We delve into the lesser known side of the 26-year-old Spaniard’s personality… Words: Abhishek Chakraborty
Which is your favourite F1 track and why?
My home Grand Prix is always special. I love racing in Spain in front of my home crowd, but my favourite circuits are probably Suzuka in Japan, Spa in Belgium and Silverstone in the United Kingdom. The old school tracks are great to drive, the layout of those circuits offer different types of corners and challenges all around and the atmosphere over the weekend is something special.
Your personal heroes?
I’m lucky to have my biggest hero at home, my Dad. At the age of 57, he is still racing and winning and I´ve learnt a lot from him as a driver and a person. Apart from him, I would say Ayrton Senna (Brazilian racing driver) and Rafael Nadal (Spanish tennis player) are two characters I have always looked up to.
Is being a Formula One driver all you had expected it to be?
Yes and more, it’s an amazing job to have, and I’m very lucky to be in this position. Everyday, I get to do what I like the most, which is racing.
One of your favourite quotes.
I don’t really know if the quote is originally his, but my father always says, “The harder I work, the luckier I get”. That quote has stuck with me since I was a little child!
Your go-to timepiece.
My Richard Mille RM50-03.
One piece of advice you would give your younger self.
“It doesn’t matter if things are going good or bad, you can always improve and push that little bit harder.” Nowadays it’s something I have present in my life, but my younger self could have learnt it a bit faster!
Your favourite material possession?
My Spanish flag that I take to every race and hang in my room.
What do you admire most in others?
Honesty and being approachable, but also having a sense of humour.
Your favourite film?
I’m a big fan of Quentin Tarantino films.
Your favourite city?
Madrid, my home city. The city itself, the weather, the food, the people, everything!
Tell us about your other talents.
I’m a decent cook, even though I don’t get to practice much.