Sainz eyes 'very special' first F1 win at home race as Ferrari bring upgrades

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Carlos Sainz is focused on claiming a "very special" first Formula 1 win at his home race, the Spanish Grand Prix, this weekend.

The Madrid native has had a mixed start to the season with three podiums but two retirements in the first five races as well as several other crashes.

As a result, he only has just over half the points scored by Ferrari teammate, and current championship leader, Charles Leclerc, but Sainz has big expectations for the race in Barcelona.

“It’s a real opportunity to make a podium or win a race at home, it’s a unique feeling that I’m really looking forward to,” he told

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“It would be my first [victory] and for that reason, it would be very special and, second, it would be at home.

“This is what I work for every day, trying to make it happen as soon as possible and the one who wants to win the most is me.”

After two years with only a handful of fans, the Catalan venue is poised to welcome a capacity crowd for this weekend. And Sainz admits that support always gives him a boost.

“I’ve always noticed it, at home I’ve always done my best races, scoring points when I didn’t have a car to score points, and this year we have a car for a podium, we’re going to try to win and go for it," he added.


“I remember going to the Grand Prix in 2005 or 2006 and seeing the stands at full capacity when Alonso raced for the World Championship and won races, well I think that in 2010 and 2013 it was also full again, but not since.

“To see it 100 percent, I think this year is going to be the first time in many years and it’s going to be incredible.”

Sainz and Leclerc are set to be boosted by Ferrari's first significant upgrades of the year, including a reported three-kilo weight loss, some of which will come via paint removal.

And after Red Bull's resurgence at Imola and Miami, team boss Mattia Binotto is confident of striking back.

“I think it’s not a surprise that we may have a package in Barcelona which will be important for us," he said.

“As usual, I hope the package we are introducing is working as expected in order to try to catch up the current gap we’ve got compared to Red Bull.

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“In terms of performance assessments, and how much they [Red Bull] developed compared to us, is that a concern? I would say not,” he noted.

“I don’t think that the difference is huge. It is a matter of maximum a couple of tenths and we should not forget that [in Miami] we locked the front row.

“In qualifying, we had a better performance compared to the Red Bull, so overall, in a weekend, I don’t think there is much difference between the Red Bull and the Ferrari.

“If there is a concern, it is how much they are developing considering the budget gap. But more than a concern, maybe it is a hope because at some stage they will need to stop.”