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Carlos Sainz

Sainz charts extreme measures taken to be fit for Australian GP

The Ferrari driver underwent an appendectomy just two weeks before the Australian Grand Prix.

Sainz Australia
To news overview © XPBimages

Carlos Sainz has revealed the lengths he went to be fit for the Australian Grand Prix, including hyperbaric chambers and specialist advice.

The Ferrari driver was forced to sit out the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to appendix surgery and was not fully convinced he would be able to travel to Melbourne after spending nearly two weeks in bed in recovery.

After Max Verstappen's retirement at Albert Park, Sainz dominated the race to secure a third grand prix win in a Ferrari one-two, but was visibly careful in his movements in parc fermé and on the podium as the after-effects of the surgery continued.

Speaking after the win, Ferrari's fourth in the last six visits to Albert Park, Sainz detailed how his body was still in "protection mode" as he tried everything to be fit for the race, including speaking with Williams driver Alex Albon who had his appendix removed in 2022.

"I guess my body is still a bit in protection mode, so everything I do is a bit slower and a bit more cautious because obviously when [the doctors] go through your abdomen it is a weird feeling," Sainz told media including RacingNews365.

"Even if I'm a bit in protection mode, I can drive, no problem. Physically, what I felt towards the end of the race, [I was] just very stiff.

"Obviously, spending seven days in bed is, for your physical fitness and all the muscles, just not very healthy for an athlete."

Sainz charts post-op recovery

The NHS in Great Britain indicates that after an appendectomy, strenuous physical activity should be avoided for 4-6 weeks, which would have placed Sainz's recovery around the time of the Chinese Grand Prix on April 19-21.

The outgoing Ferrari driver, however, was adamant he would be racing in Australia and immediately sought advice to be in Melbourne.

"As soon as I got my appendix removed, I went on the internet and started talking with professionals and said: ‘Okay, what helps to speed up recovery?," he added.

"From that point onwards, I started doing all the sort of things that you can do to speed up recovery, the wounds, the scar tissue, what you can help to be faster on that, talking to other athletes, talking to other doctors in Spain and internationally.

"Then I put together a plan with my team. The reason why athletes recover faster is because you can dedicate 24 hours per day for seven days to recovery, that's exactly what I did.

"I started going to hyperbaric chambers twice a day for one hour, taking an Indiba machine, which is an electromagnetic thing for wounds.

"I was programming my time in bed, my time to go for a walk, my time to eat, the kind of food that you have to recover, everything was centred around recovery to try to be ready for Australia.

"Don't worry, because in the second week [post surgery], every day is going to [be better than the last]' - even Alex Albon told me this. So I just followed more or less what everyone told me and put together a good plan."

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