Carlos Sainz has continued to engage with the fans who turned up to welcome him to Ferrari on his first day driving for the Italian giants.
The Spaniard is settling into life with the Scuderia after joining them from McLaren on a two-year contract, taking Sebastian Vettel’s place in the team.
After going through various procedural requirements at the Maranello factory, Sainz finally got to the moment he had been waiting for on Wednesday – driving a Ferrari F1 car, albeit the 2018 version as part of a week-long test at Fiorano.
After completing 118 laps, the 26-year-old revealed he had been keen to greet the diehard supporters who had provided a warm welcome by displaying banners dedicated to him at the side of the track.
“There were two banners, a ‘Vamos Carlos’ banner and a ‘Smooth Operator’ banner,” revealed Sainz in a video interview for Ferrari.
“So the tifosi here in Italy already know my names and my preferences in terms of names, so that’s a good start, and then at the end of the day I had the chance to go and say hello to them.
“I got in a car and went to say hello to them for being here supporting me and sharing the passion on what a very special day for me.”
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) January 28, 2021
And the relationship has not ended there. It has extended to social media, where one of the fans posted a message and photo detailing the encounter with Sainz.
It read: “We were 7 guys, sticked to the fence while watching Carlos pushing the SF71H to the limits in the circuit of Fiorano, pushed by the roaring V6 engine.
“At 4pm the session stopped and we were about to leave the circuit when we saw a small fire truck proceeding along the truck and stopping in front of us.
“Carlos stepped out. We were astonished. He drove all the way along to greet a few fans outside the circuit, just to have a word with us!
“What a special and humble champion. Thank you Carlos, we will never forget this day.”
The message was seen by Sainz, who was clearly touched by the support of the tifosi that have already taken him to their hearts.
“No need to thank me,” he tweeted. “Happy to share my first day in red with all of you guys up there! See you soon!!”
No need to thank me Henar! Happy to share my first day in red with all of you guys up there! See you soon! https://t.co/YzXf8luIxN
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) January 29, 2021