Diary: Sainz denied the greatest goal of his life in charity football game

Formula 1

The Formula One paddock is a busy place that hosts a lot of serious business over a race weekend, but this blog will aim to bring you some of the more colourful moments from the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

The greatest goal that never was?

Charles Leclerc and Mick Schumacher were among a number of racing drivers taking part in Monaco’s annual charity football match on Tuesday night. The team of drivers, known as Nazionale Piloti, also included Pierre Gasly, Antonio Giovinazzi and Carlos Sainz and took on a team captained by Prince Albert II of Monaco at Stade Louis II. French international William Gallas was among the ex-professional footballers on the Prince’s team, which ended up taking a 3-2 victory over the drivers.

The score could have been 3-3 but for a disallowed goal by Giovinazzi. “I scored a good goal but unfortunately it was offside,” he said. “But it was a good match and it was for charity, so that’s good.”

Another person left wondering about what might have been was McLaren driver Sainz, who was pictured mid-collision with a goalkeeper.

He said that moment prevented him capping off a move which had seen him out-skill Gallas, who appeared in the 2006 World Cup final with France and won two Premier League titles with Arsenal.

When asked what happened, he laughed and said: “I’m going to tell you the story about that. I actually did a nutmeg to Gallas and then put the ball through his legs.

“Just when I was about to shoot… the goalkeeper came out and I rolled over. It was about to be the best goal of my life!”

Sainz was known to be a good footballer in his youth, but chose to follow in the footsteps of his father, the rally legend of the same name, into motor racing. The elder Sainz had trials with Real Madrid when he was a teenager and unsuccessfully ran to be Vice-President of the Spanish club in 2007.

All proceeds from the event went to the Children’s Charities Associations in Europe.

Kimi’s 300th race

This weekend Kimi Raikkonen will join a select club of just five drivers who have taken part in 300 grand prix race weekends or more. He joins Michael Schumacher (308), Jenson Button (309), Fernando Alonso (314) and Rubens Barrichello (326). Cause for celebration, right? No according to the Finn…

“No, it’s no different from last week or the next race,” he said. “In the end this is just a number, for sure it’s different from the first race but after that, once you go on for a while, it doesn’t really change.

“I’m not here because I can be [the driver with] the most grands prix. It gives me absolutely zero pleasure. It’s purely a number. I’ve already told the team a while ago I don’t want [any attention], but people try to celebrate. It’s a number, what’s the difference?”

Better hide the cake, commemorative hats and special helmet livery, then.

Leclerc pays tribute to father and Jules Bianchi

Charles Leclerc’s helmet for the Monaco Grand Prix will feature the designs of his father, Herve, and his godfather Jules Bianchi, who both died in recent years. Bianchi died in 2015 after suffering severe head injuries racing at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix and Herve Leclerc died in June 2017. Leclerc posted a picture of the helmet on Instagram with the caption: “Half of this helmet is Jules’ one and the other part is my father’s one. Without these 2 I would not be here. Let’s give it all for this special week-end.”

Favourite quote from Thursday’s media session: With clouds hanging over the Monaco harbour and a mixed forecast for the week ahead, there is already talk of a wet race on Sunday. But Kevin Magnussen had little interest in predicting how it would impact Haas’ performance as a journalist questioned him on the weather…

Journalist: “Would you prefer a wet race?”
Magnussen: “Depends how we qualify.”

Journalist: “Wet qualifying?”
Magnussen: “Depends how we practice?”

Journalist: “Wet practice?”
Magnussen: [laughing] “I don’t know.”

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