Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has spoken of his admiration for team-mate Charles Leclerc’s driving style, stating that he had a lot to acclimatise himself to in his first year with the Scuderia.
The Maranello-based team signed Sainz from McLaren ahead of the 2021 campaign, and the Spaniard finished an impressive fifth in this year’s Drivers’ Standings, scoring four podiums in the process.
Sainz has revealed that he has learned a lot this year, and it started from the moment Ferrari rocked up to winter testing.
“Since the moment I arrived to winter testing in Bahrain, I had a lot of things to learn from Charles,” Sainz said.
The 27-year-old stated that he immediately had to change his driving style to harmonise better with Ferrari’s 2021 challenger.
“The way that he was driving the Ferrari in a particular way to be as quick and as fast as he’s being all year long, I’ve had to adapt myself [to it], I had to copy a lot of the stuff that I was seeing on the data.”
He then conceded that he was “shocked” by the pace shown by his Monegasque team-mate.
“Sometimes it was difficult to believe that it was possible to do that, and it was so crazy quick that it was actually a bit shocking.”
It was a long process, but the Ferrari newbie is proud of his progress as the season went on, and he said he owes this to the examples set by Leclerc.
“But little by little, adapting and trying to learn from him, I managed to get to a good level.”
Sainz, however, is aware that there are still plenty of improvements to be made.
“There’s still things that when we will go into the winter break, he’s much stronger than me in certain areas.”
The former Toro Rosso, Renault and McLaren driver maintained that he and Leclerc will continue to have an open relationship for the benefit of the team.
“We will exchange some information and we will try and both become better drivers learning from each other.”
Ferrari finished third in the Constructors’ Standings in 2021, but have not won a race since 2019.