Carlos Sainz believes he has a lot of room to improve as a driver following the best season of his Formula 1 career to date.
Joining McLaren from Renault, the former Red Bull junior delivered consistently impressive performances throughout the season and secured sixth in the drivers’ championship ahead of Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon — who shared a Red Bull seat this year — with a last-lap overtake on Nico Hulkenberg in Abu Dhabi. Sainz says there is still “a lot” of development to come, even if he acknowledges the significant gains he made during the past season.
“I think still every area can be improved, but this year I’ve done a very big step, and I’m willing to build from here,” Sainz said. “This year was a big step for me, and I just want to continue that way. I’m finding little things to become a stronger driver.”
Sainz attributes at least part of his strong performances in 2019 to the stability that his move to McLaren has provided, with the team confirming the futures of both the Spaniard and Lando Norris early in the year.
“I think you can see that I’m in a much more comfortable environment right now, more comfortable atmosphere, and the certainty of a nice future with McLaren gave me that extra tranquillity just to show my skills a bit better without that extra having to do everything at the moment, thinking more about the mid-term.
“That has helped me to put together some nice races, some nice overtaking moves that before we maybe didn’t see from myself. That last bit of confidence that I unlocked this year has definitely given me the opportunity to do also the overtaking that you saw (in Abu Dhabi).”