Happy Place - Q&A with Carlos Sainz

A points-finish in Monza means Carlos Sainz is full of confidence as he heads to Singapore for his 75th start in Formula 1, at a circuit which last season delivered the Spaniard’s best finish to date.

What makes Singapore so challenging?
Singapore is probably the toughest race on the calendar, both for the heat and humidity as well as the physical demands of the circuit itself. It gets so hot in the cockpit and we’re very busy with the frequent changes of direction and on-going gear shifts; all while making sure not to hit the barriers. It’s a really big challenge come race day. It’s a long lap in terms of time, and very tight and twisty. There aren’t many straights to have a rest like in Baku, for example, so that makes it even trickier from a physical perspective.

Why is it a unique Grand Prix weekend?

Singapore is a strange weekend in a way as we remain on European time. Waking up at 2pm every day and leaving the track at 3am is strange, but that’s what makes it a unique Grand Prix. We don’t see too much daylight there and there’s little time to explore.

How are you feeling ahead of your 75th Formula 1 race start?
It’s a cool coincidence that both myself and Nico celebrate milestones on the same weekend. 75 races sounds like a lot, especially since I’m still quite young. It would be extra special if we can celebrate it with a double-points finish or match or better my result from last year!

Talk us through an eventful race at Marina Bay for you last year…
It’s probably my best-ever race in my Formula 1 career. Everything clicked on the day and we ended up in fourth place. It was a very difficult race starting on the Intermediate tyre and then picking the right time to go onto the Supersofts, which took a bit of getting used to in the early running. But, it was an incredible day, an amazing race and one which I’ll never forget. That said, every time I’m in the car, I’m gunning to better it.

How’s the mood after the last round?
Overall, I was very happy with the Italian weekend. We want to build on this now at a string of circuits which should suit our package well. I’m feeling positive and I want to convert that into a strong weekend in Singapore.