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Carlos Sainz

Sainz reveals deadly message after appendicitis diagnosis

Carlos Sainz has revealed how much of a risk he took during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix earlier this year, ahead of being diagnosed with appendicitis.

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Carlos Sainz reveals that he was told by a doctor that he risked "dying", after not addressing his appendicitis pain for a few days. 

Speaking on the Nude Project podcast, Sainz discussed his appendicitis experience during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix earlier this year. The Ferrari driver felt ill as soon as he arrived in Saudi Arabia, but battled through the pain to complete free practice. 

However, due to the pain having worsened, he went to hospital where he was diagnosed with appendicitis, before shortly undergoing surgery. 

It opened the door to Oliver Bearman to make his F1 debut, where he managed to score several points. 

Looking back on how the Saudi Arabian GP and his pain started, Sainz revealed how quickly he went downhill. 

“I don’t have very good memories of it," Sainz revealed. “I arrived in Jeddah after finishing third in Bahrain. I had started the season very well.

“And on Thursday morning, which is when we have meetings with the press, meetings with the engineers, events with the sponsors, I start to feel terrible.

“I have a high fever and I can’t stop going to the bathroom. I’ve been very sick for 24 hours. On Friday I had to get in the car for free practice and I started to take everything to calm the diarrhoea and the fever.

“I managed to get it down a bit and I thought that if I could match the pills with the low fever and not feel like going to the toilet before driving, I could get into the F1 car. 

"I was exhausted because I didn’t eat, I had no energy, I was sweating more than usual – it was the hardest two practice sessions of my whole career. Also, Jeddah is a very demanding circuit for the physique because of the fast corners and it was very hot. I suffered a lot."

Risk of death

Completing the free practice sessions on the opening day of the Saudia Arabian GP was a huge mistake by Sainz, as his doctor later revealed to him that he risked death and an even longer operation. 

The process of Sainz going to hospital and then having surgery all happened very quickly, although he continued to ask the medical professionals if he could be given something to make the race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. 

When told there was absolutely no chance of racing in Saudi Arabia, his attention quickly turned to returning in time for the Australian Grand Prix, where he famously claimed victory.

“I did the free practice, but I thought that if this keeps up I can’t do the race and in qualifying I was going to suffer a lot," continued Sainz.

“The next day it was still the same at 6am and I thought it couldn’t be a virus. I was more f*cked up than two days ago, so I decide to go to the hospital. I get to the hospital, they do tests and they confirm: ‘You have appendicitis.’

“And I say: ‘We have to operate, don’t we?’ They say ‘yes’ and ask me: ‘How long have you been like this?’ I told them two days and they said: ‘You’re crazy, because if the appendix bursts you risk dying and the operation is three times as long.’

“But I was still only thinking about F1 and I wanted to race and I said: ‘If you give me something strong so I can do the race and come tomorrow for the operation? They said no because something very serious could happen and I could die if my appendix burst.

“I said: ‘OK, operate on me, but I have the Australian race in two weeks. Will I be ready for Australia?’ They told me it would be very tight and that I shouldn’t think about it and we would see how I felt after the operation.

“The recovery I was told would be about 10-14 days without physical exercise, so I had emergency surgery. I missed the Jeddah race, which hurt me a lot in the Championship because I lost 12-15 points for sure – and from then on I thought about coming back to Australia to race.”

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