Disastrous: Carlos Sainz health update after Australian GP practice with Oliver Bearman on standby…

Carlos Sainz planned to return to action in Melbourne on Friday but admitted beforehand he was not fully fit and may have to sit out again and let Oliver Bearman race for Ferrari

Carlos Sainz said he felt happy to continue driving this weekend after testing his fitness for the Australian Grand Prix in Friday practice.
The Spaniard had surgery less than two weeks ago after an appendicitis diagnosis. It forced him to miss the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and so Ferrari handed British teenager Oliver Bearman a short-notice Formula 1 debut.
The 18-year-old performed admirably and is in Melbourne this weekend, mainly to compete in Formula 2 but also as a backup option for the Scuderia once again. Sainz planned to compete this weekend but admitted himself he was not fully fit.

He planned to take part in Friday’s practice and see how he felt afterwards before a final decision was made. But he showed good pace by going eighth fastest in FP1 before rising to third in the second session of the day.
And, speaking after the day’s running, Sainz confirmed that he hadn’t experienced too much discomfort in the cockpit of his car. “It’s been a couple of tough weeks leading to today and to be honest I’m very happy I could complete both sessions with reasonable comfort,” he said.

“I feel okay, obviously a bit tired after a day of practice and not being 100 per cent physically, but I felt like I had a good day. I managed to complete the whole program. Obviously, I need a good night’s sleep and a good recovery for tomorrow.
I’m confident tomorrow will be better and, overall, the car seems to be in a good place this weekend. We’ll try to maximize everything from body and machine.
Sainz’s team-mate Charles Leclerc topped the timesheets in FP2 to raise hopes of a strong showing from Ferrari this weekend. And that result gave the Monegasque the confidence to declare this weekend his best chance yet of getting the better of Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

He said: “I would say that we are in a better position than the first two races. However, Red Bull weren’t pushing yet, so we’ve got to wait and see where their potential is at, but I think they are still ahead. But we might have our best shot this weekend from the beginning of the season.

“The race pace looked quite strong but, again, it’s very difficult to compare because some drivers had a lot of traffic – we had relatively clean laps. But it looked quite good, so better that it looks good on Friday than the other way around. It’s a good start, but we still need to keep pushing and see what’s possible tomorrow.”

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