Sainz looks back to 2015: "Verstappen made me a better driver"

19-10-2019 08:51
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
General
Sainz looks back to 2015: Verstappen made me a better driver

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz started his career at Toro Rosso alongside the mercurial Max Verstappen, with the two often having battles on-track, but the Spaniard looks back fondly to that time, saying Verstappen made him "a better driver".

Sainz is having his best season to date in 2019, with the 25-year-old currently in sixth place for McLaren as he leads the midfield. He's finished in fifth place three times already this year and has been incredibly consistent during races, although teammate Lando Norris has had the edge in qualifying in 2019.

Something which often gets overlooked is that 2019 is the first time Sainz has penned a multiple year deal in his F1 career, with all of his contracts in his first four years in the sport being one-year agreements. 

"It's a long term project, so we don't have to prove ourselves each race," he told Formule1.nl.

"We want to make this team competitive again together. We have to set our own aspirations aside sometimes for the good of the team."

This is a very different working envirionment compared to Toro Rosso. In 2015, both him and Verstappen got put in the car and were fighting for their futures in F1, meaning there was a lot of hard racing against each other.

Still, he says himself and Max get along well now, as well as back then, even though the media often reported there was a lot of friction between the two talents.

"It's no secret he is one of the most talented drivers in the world. I enjoyed taking him on. He made me a better driver.

"We were thrown into the cage to fight each other. Toro Rosso is a development team to evaluate whether drivers are ready to go to Red Bull. So, you have to prove yourself constantly. That made the atmosphere super competitive.

"However, that doesn't mean we didn't get along."

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