Sainz picks World Cup winners and opens up on Vinicius Jr friendship

Spain V Germany Match in Pictures

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Carlos Sainz has predicted Spain have a fighting chance of winning the World Cup in Qatar – and joked he doesn’t want his friend Vinicius Junior to reach the latter stages of the tournament as it could affect his country’s chances. The Ferrari driver is a loyal football fan and with the F1 season wrapped up, the Spaniard can follow his team during the winter event in the Middle East.

Spain began their campaign with a storming start after a 7-0 annihilation of Costa Rica in Group G, before they were denied the chance to seal qualification to the last-16 knockout round on Sunday when they drew 1-1 with Germany.

Luis Enrique’s young squad have been backed as outsiders to win the tournament due to their entertaining playing style and thirst for goals. And Ferrari driver Sainz believes that La Roja have a decent opportunity to clinch their second World Cup in 12 years in Qatar after their historic triumph back in 2010.

“I think we have good chances because Spain always, since we won the World Cup back in 2010, I think we’ve always played well,” he said, as quoted by GP Fans. “We are very loyal to our way of playing and always tried to play good football. I think we have a great amount of young talent in the team.

“Will this be enough to win the World Cup? I have no idea. Because then it depends on that month, how the players are feeling. But I like our chances and I will be supporting Spain as much as I can.”

Sainz’s passion may have taken him down the path of being a professional racer but the 27-year-old is a keen footballer in his spare time and a die-hard Real Madrid fan along with his father, Carlos Snr.

He regularly attends Madrid matches at the Santiago Bernabeu when he is not on track and even has been seen wearing the club’s jersey in the paddock. So it is no surprise that as a famous fan, he has struck up a blossoming friendship with star winger Vinicius Junior and opened up on their relationship after being asked about the Brazilian and his compatriot Rodrygo.

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“Two great players that have done a lot for Real Madrid in the last couple of years,” Sainz said of the pair. “I text Vini now and then. We’re on Instagram, and he’s become a fan of Formula 1 and I’m a big fan of Real Madrid.

“I think they’re going to be strong in the national team for Brazil, though maybe I don’t want them to be so strong because it will make life very difficult for Spain.

“But they are two great players: super young, with all the life ahead of them. So I wish them the best and keep being so good, especially for Real Madrid.”

Sainz, who finished the season in fifth place in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of Lewis Hamilton, will be racing with Ferrari again for the 2023 season at least after another solid performance for the team.

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