Formula 1 Racing

Other drivers wouldn’t work as hard as Sainz did to return after surgery

Carlos Sainz Jnr, 2024

Lando Norris doubts other drivers would have made the effort Carlos Sainz Jnr did to return to racing two weeks after undergoing surgery.

Sainz won last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix despite still being in some discomfort from the laparoscopy he underwent which forced him to miss the previous round in Jeddah. After the race he revealed the lengths he had gone to accelerate his recovery time.

Norris, who was Sainz’s team mate at McLaren for two seasons, was impressed by his efforts. “I’m sure you have plenty of drivers who probably wouldn’t have tried as hard and dedicated so much of their time and effort to trying to recover and get back in the race car,” he said.

Despite having won a race in each of the last three seasons Sainz is without a drive for next season, as Lewis Hamilton will take his place at Ferrari. Norris said the effort Sainz made to return as quickly as possible was “just one example” of why he deserves to be regarded among F1’s top drivers.

“There’s no reason anyone should think he’s underrated,” said Norris. “I think the people who know him know what he’s capable of doing, know his effort level, his approach and dedication to wanting to be one of the best, exactly like he’s proved today and over the last couple of weeks.”

“For the people who know what he’s capable of doing, you would never ever say he’s underrated,” Norris continued. “Of course results are always a bit of a point to show, and people on the outside just easily judge things from what you see on TV.

“But when you’ve worked with him, when you know what he’s capable of doing, and when things click, they click very well and he has performances like he does this weekend. And I would say all year, he’s proved to be a step up from maybe what he has been last year. You’re silly if you underrate him.”

Sainz published images showing his recovery process, including one of him lying in a hyperbaric chamber which supplies an increased level of oxygen to aid healing.

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