DAMS expected Carlos Sainz Jr's slump after Max Verstappen F1 news

Carlos Sainz Jr's Formula Renault 3.5 team DAMS has admitted that it expected the Spainard's form to suffer when it appeared he had lost his Formula 1 chance this summer

Red Bull's surprise decision in August to promote Max Verstappen to a race drive with Toro Rosso in F1 next year seemed to leave Sainz without a hope of landing a promotion of his own.

Sainz then had one of his toughest weekends of the year at the Hungaroring FR3.5 round that followed the announcement, before his form recovered and he stormed to the title. He ultimately ended up with a Toro Rosso drive anyway after Daniil Kvyat's Red Bull promotion.

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DAMS boss Jean-Paul Driot said that the team was braced for a dip in form ahead of the Hungarian FR3.5 round in September.

"I knew what was going to happen, but unfortunately I was not in Budapest," Driot told AUTOSPORT.

"Usually when a driver is leading the championship at the end of July, that is when the pressure really starts to be there.

"Then to have something like Verstappen going to Toro Rosso - that is quite a strong thing to happen against you when you are 20.

"But Carlos demonstrated that when something like that happens to him he can react in the right way."

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Sainz effectively sealed the championship with a dominant double victory next time out at Paul Ricard, following a pep talk from Driot earlier that weekend.

"We had a very big conversation on the Friday night," he said.

"I took him outside of the circuit, outside of the team, away from all the people who are in motor racing.

"We had a good conversation, and apparently it worked because that weekend he was quite good!"

DAMS' drivers have won two FR3.5 championships in a row now, but Driot says Sainz was a different kind of character to manage compared to 2013 champion Kevin Magnussen.

"Kevin was over-confident, so I had to have him coming down and learning," he added.

"I was explaining to him that talent is not enough - that you have to work.

"Kevin did learn. With Carlos, he had to mature a lot and not get a little bit excited as soon as there is some pressure.

"That's what we had to work on with him in order for him to gain confidence and be much more understanding."


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