Formula 1 Racing

Sainz ‘almost can’t believe’ taking front row after surgery · RaceFans

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Carlos Sainz Jnr found it hard to believe he secured a front row start for the Australian Grand Prix two weeks after undergoing surgery.

The Ferrari driver underwent emergency surgery in Jeddah after a sudden bout of appendicitis left him unable to compete in Saudi Arabia.

Sainz was the quicker of the two Ferrari drivers in qualifying and the closest driver to pole winner Max Verstappen, taking second on the grid for Sunday’s race. He admitted it had been a challenge just to prepare himself physically to compete during his recovery from surgery.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks,” Sainz said. “A lot of days in bed, waiting until this moment to see if I could be here today.

“To make it to this weekend and then obviously to put it on the front row after leading through qualifying, I was almost not believing it. Especially after how tough it’s been. But very happy to be here and very happy to be challenging the Red Bulls this weekend.”

After admitting he had been driving within a margin in Friday’s practice to build up his confidence, Sainz says he found a good balance with his Ferrari on Saturday.

“I was a bit rusty at the beginning yesterday,” he said. “But then I got up to speed and I could finally find the pace and feeling good with the car.”

Asked if he felt he would be physically capable to complete a grand prix distance on Sunday, Sainz said he is confident he can get the job done.

“I’m not going to lie, I’m not in my most comfortable state when I’m driving out there,” he said. “But I can get it done.

“As far as I can get it done without the pain, obviously a lot of discomfort and weird feelings, but no pain. So it allows me to push flat-out.”

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