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Sainz's Victory I Managed Despite the Pain

Sainz’s Victory: “I Managed Despite the Pain”

25/03/2024

Prior to the Melbourne weekend, Carlos Sainz, who had undergone appendicitis surgery just two weeks earlier, was uncertain about his ability to participate in Sunday’s race in his Ferrari. He planned to assess his physical condition during the free practice sessions before deciding whether he could endure the demands of the Grand Prix.

The outcome is well-known: Carlos Sainz outperformed Charles Leclerc in the qualifying sessions and went on to deliver a masterful performance on Sunday in Melbourne, culminating in a well-deserved victory.

However, was Carlos Sainz not anxious on Sunday morning about the prospect of completing 58 full-throttle laps?

“How nervous was I? I felt confident for the first half of the race since that was approximately the number of laps I had managed during free practice. Obviously, the second half presented some uncertainty,” Sainz admitted.

“Yet, once I took the lead and created a gap, everything came under control. It allowed for self-management, tire management, and reduced pressure. You can choose when to push and when to conserve, making everything significantly easier.”

“So yes, I won’t deny that in the last five or ten laps, I felt a bit stiff and tired, but it wasn’t enough to significantly slow me down.”

Sainz took extra precautions towards the end of the race, noticeable in the timing as Charles Leclerc began to close the gap slightly…

Sainz's Victory I Managed Despite the Pain

Another measure of caution displayed by the Spaniard was during the post-race celebrations: he did not leap out of his Ferrari!

“My body is still somewhat in protective mode. Everything I do is a bit slower and more cautious because, obviously, having your abdomen opened up is a strange feeling.”

“Physically, towards the end of the race, I just felt very stiff… Spending seven days in bed is not ideal for an athlete, in terms of physical fitness and muscle condition. Up until the final stint, I was doing perfectly fine. I still had that odd sensation, but it didn’t slow me down. I felt confident with the car and kept pushing.”

How did Carlos Sainz manage to stay in shape despite undergoing a relatively major operation? His specific fitness recovery program offers a fascinating glimpse into the physical preparation of a professional athlete – a far cry from the days of James Hunt.

“Yes, as soon as my appendix was removed, I went online and started consulting with professionals, thinking, ‘OK, what can accelerate healing?’ From there, I began doing everything possible to speed up recovery, address injuries, and manage scar tissue, by talking to other athletes, doctors in Spain, and abroad. Then, I formulated a plan with my team.”

“The reason athletes recover faster is that they can dedicate 24 hours a day, seven days a week to recovery. And that’s exactly what I did. I started using hyperbaric chambers twice a day for an hour, employed an Indiba machine, which is an electromagnetic device for injuries. I scheduled my bed rest, walking time, meal times, and the type of diet needed for healing.”

“Nine days before I was due to fly to Australia, I was still bedridden. I could barely use my abs to move. I thought it wasn’t going to happen. But I took the flight, and suddenly, when I landed in Australia, I felt much better. And every 24 hours, I made more progress than in the first seven days, which is what all the doctors and professionals told me would happen. Even Alex Albon said it to me, I remember. So, I followed more or less what everyone told me and made a good plan.”

Sainz's Victory I Managed Despite the Pain

Sainz’s Victory: “I Managed Despite the Pain”. Sainz’s Victory: “I Managed Despite the Pain”

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