Carlos Sainz credited Charles Leclerc for his Ferrari debut season form, and hailed his teammate for being a benchmark for him.
Sainz had an electric debut season for the Prancing Horse after making the move from McLaren. He had a solid year and made a statement by taking P5 in the Drivers’ Championship on the last day of the season, finishing above his teammate.
In a season where all the newcomers struggled, the Spaniard showed his class and ability. He has always been underrated even compared to his hyped-up teammate, but it was him who finished 5.5 points ahead.
However, Sainz credited Leclerc for his Ferrari form, saying that he showed him how to get the best out of his car.
“Since the moment I arrived to winter testing in Bahrain, I had a lot of things to learn from Charles,” he said, as quoted by motorsport.com.
“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.
“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. But little by little, adapting and trying to learn from him, I managed to get to a good level.”
Leclerc absolutely rates his teammate, and heaped praise on him for pushing him to do better.
“As always, when you have a new teammate, you always learn, (such as) the new ways Carlos is approaching race weekends, the way he works, his talent, his raw speed also, the way he takes the corners,” he said.
“He’s had an amazing year, so he has obviously pushed me very, very much to try and perform better at every race and it’s just been extremely interesting.
“I think maybe one of the strong points of Carlos is the race management and tyre management, and that’s probably been my weakness in 2019. I’ve progressed a lot as a driver in 2020, and again this year, and part of this year is thanks to Carlos.”