“This will be a very special race to remember,” began the Toro Rosso man. “I remember watching my first Grand Prix here ten years ago, meeting important people, meeting my idol, Fernando, for the first time, when he was with Renault. It was an amazing experience and it was probably due to that I took the decision to be a Formula 1 driver one day and I really wanted to make this dream come true. Ten years later and here I am achieving this dream and having my first run in my home grand prix.” Carlos was then asked what it would feel like to beat Alonso on track and before the Toro Rosso driver could respond, Fernando butted in by saying, “It would be terrible!” While Carlos added, “no, it would be great! I don’t know if I will fight him on track or not. I just know I fought him in Bahrain. You don’t realise it’s Fernando, you just see a McLaren and try to beat him. Out of the track it’s different. He’s the man. He’s Fernando, and we have a good relationship. Inside the track everyone is a competitor. If we race in a go-kart race, for charity or something, you try to win and to beat everyone. Here it’s the same. It will feel a bit strange in the paddock and everything but for the rest, I’m very happy to be here, I’m enjoying a lot this beginning of the season and my first grand prix, my first race in Europe, sharing all these good moments. It will be interesting.”

The drivers on the panel were each asked to describe themselves in three words. Like all his colleagues, Carlos found this question impossible to answer. “I prefer other people to judge me and my personality, my driving style, my approach, than to really describe myself,” he said. “I think it could sound a bit… not correct to describe yourself. I prefer the others to do that… Me as a driver, I know who I want to be and how I want to do it but to describe yourself as good, talented or whatever, it can sound… not correct. A bit arrogant. So I prefer you guys to analyse me and come to your own conclusions.”

Sainz’s day was far from over after the press conference. He got a very noisy reception when he went out into pit lane to sign autographs for the fans. He was also the F1 driver at this race who was chosen to set a fastest lap time on the Catalunya circuit simulator in the Fan Zone. For the rest of the weekend, spectators can try their hand and see if they can beat him. Good luck with that!

Max Verstappen? Yes, don’t worry, he’s here too, enjoying not being the centre of attention and getting on with preparing for round 5 of the World Championship.