There's no doubt the 25-year-old's reverence for his dad - "El Matador" as he is aptly known - will have gone up another notch following Carlos Sainz Sr's splendid third win in the Dakar on Friday.
The 57-year old finished ahead of al-Attiyah and 13-time victor Stephane Peterhansel to add to his titles in 2010 and 2018.
It never came under serious threat as he paced himself through the shortened 167km stage, surrendering only four minutes to Al-Attiyah.
"I feel very happy".
"But he's convinced - he said if it is [a penalty], he said he'll be surprised, because you don't win the Dakar speeding for one second".
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I also wonder what Brabec's win means for the US and the Dakar. America's Ricky Brabec won the bike class of the 2020 event, which was the first to take place in Saudi Arabia.
"I know there are people who have tried several times until they finish their first Dakar, I have had the luck and the flawless team to get it at the first".
"At the end, we put the pieces to the puzzle together", said the American after an event marred by the death of Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves in a fall last Sunday. We had to be smart and focused every day. "I just needed a bit more luck", said the Qatari, who applauded and embraced Sainz at the finish.
Chile's Ignacio Casale was the quad champion for a third time while American Casey Currie won the lightweight side-by-side (SSV) category introduced in 2017.