You ache for Sainz, although. Ferrari is the highest of the tree for F1 drivers. Probably, Leclerc will transfer on from right here provided that he fails and is proven the door. To ensure that Sainz to nurture title-winning hopes with Ferrari, he should by default nurse quieter hopes that his pal screws up. Sainz says that if he catches himself indulging in self-pity for any purpose – “If on a given day I really feel drained, or unhappy, or possibly one thing’s not fairly proper with me, if I’m in a nasty temper and I don’t know why” – it’s his behavior to discover a peaceable spot on the Maranello compound and repeat a mantra. “Shit,” it goes. “I’m a Ferrari driver. I’m in Maranello. I’m going to drive a simulator at present. I’m going to check the automobile. And shortly I’m gonna race.”
Racing, Leclerc agrees, presents the final word reset. He was an adolescent in System 1’s feeder sequence when his beloved father, Hervé, handed away. Leclerc entered the following scheduled race, days after his bereavement, and gained it. You sense these drivers will bear losses, disappointments, and indignities Monday by Thursday, so long as they get to pare away the blues at 200 mph on the weekend. For Sainz, the minor insults are in every single place if he cares to look. Handed a stack of pristine baseball caps within the storage, he scribbles his signature on the far aspect of every peak, robotically leaving room for Leclerc’s title to seem earlier than his personal. Though they’re virtually the identical peak, a cut-out tableau of the 2 drivers in central Maranello romantically imagines Leclerc an entire head taller.
Netflix’s Drive to Survive, a sequence that works exhausting to legitimise the experiences of constrained rivals exterior of the elite group comparable to Sainz, has had a big effect on F1, enlarging the game with new followers, altering the way in which that followers relate to drivers at each degree. Leclerc has solely actually recognized a heightened Netflix period in his sport, which started in 2018. However Sainz has competed simply lengthy sufficient to note the modified climate. “Extra folks recognise you on the street,” he tells me, “extra sponsors, extra occasions, extra footage.” The lifetime of a driver, he means, has grow to be a whit much less concerning the driving. He’s making headway by the baseball caps that want signing, and concludes: “Extra autographs, extra dangers of distraction.”
Sainz stands when he’s completed, rigorously pinching the belt loop of his denims, mountaineering the waistband greater. It’s loud within the hangar. Mechanics are testing one automobile that makes a sound just like the sustained, trembling guitar chord that opens a rock live performance. An older Ferrari has been raised up, with items of neat leather-based baggage nonetheless strapped to its roof rack, an incongruity that makes the closest mechanics shout, “Sta andando in ferie!” (It’s happening vacation!) The guitar chord ends. Maybe Sainz has been taking the second to remind himself of that mantra, his counter to any self-pity. Shit, although! I’m right here, in Maranello!
There’s a huge two-storey Ferrari museum on-site, its rooms full of immaculate automobiles, trophies, and memorabilia. The museum’s director, a dapper man named Michele Pignatti Morano, has already advised Leclerc, Sainz, and their colleagues: “For those who win us one other championship, I’ll knock down partitions for you.” Main me on a tour, Pignatti Morano explains a Ferrari ritual: that some championship-winning automobiles are introduced into this museum and parked ceaselessly on the carpeted banks of a room they name the Victory Corridor. Melodramatic music performs right here. Hardcore followers have been recognized to falter and weep. Pignatti Morano waves at a wall that might be demolished ought to they want the area for Leclerc’s or Sainz’s automobile. “I’ve advised them, ‘Don’t use me as an excuse,’ ” Pignatti Morano says.