Sainz Jnr. inherited his passion for motor sport from his father, but instead of the narrow roads and dirt tracks, he chose the race track, starting in karts at the age of eleven. He made his single-seater debut in 2010 in Formula BMW, taking his first win at Silverstone with the Euro International team. The following year, he moved to Formula Renault, racing for Korainen Motorsport, winning ten times on his way to the Northern Europe Cup title.
In 2012, he stepped up to European Formula 3 with the Carlin team, taking a win at Spa-Francorchamps and finishing the championship in fifth place. The following year, he raced in Formula Renault 3.5 winning the 2014 title with the DAMS team, taking seven wins and seven poles, to finish ahead of Frenchman Pierre Gasly.
This performance opened the door to Formula 1 and he made his debut with Scuderia Toro Rosso in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, teamed with Max Verstappen, scoring 2 points on his maiden outing. He picked up a further 16 points that season and was 15th in the championship. The following year, he had his first encounter with Ferrari as his Toro Rosso was fitted with a Maranello-made power unit. Carlos ended the year 12th in the championship on 46 points and in 2017, he continued to progress, making it into the top ten, finishing ninth, after switching from Toro Rosso to Renault for the final four races of the year and for 2018. The Spaniard was tenth with the French team and his best result was a fifth place in Azerbaijan.
In 2019, Sainz joined McLaren, putting in a solid performance, which ended with sixth place in the championship, claiming his first podium in a thrilling Brazilian Grand Prix. He stayed with the English team the following year, again finishing in sixth place and coming close to winning the Italian Grand Prix, finishing second behind Gasly. A really solid driver, Carlos always gets the most out of his car and is noted in the business for his ability to help engineers develop the car.
In 2021, he became the third Spaniard to drive for Ferrari in Formula 1, following on from Fernando Alonso and Alfonso de Portago. At the wheel of the SF21, he had a really strong season, finishing fifth in the Drivers’ classification on 164.5 points, playing a key role in Ferrari’s conquest of third place in the Constructors’ championship. Carlos stood on the podium four times: he came second in Monaco and third in Hungary, Russia and Abu Dhabi. On top of that, he finished in the points in 20 of the 22 races, including a run of 15 consecutive top ten finishes, unmatched by any other driver.