Sainz hopes to replicate Norris-style relationship with Leclerc at Ferrari

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Carlos Sainz hopes to form a similar working relationship with Charles Leclerc at Ferrari to that he enjoyed with Lando Norris at McLaren.

The Spaniard has been continuing to get settled in at the Scuderia in recent days, including completing his first day in the simulator last weekend ahead of a planned test in the 2018 car later this month.

However, Sainz also took time to speak to the media through a conference call and began by revealing his surprise at how quickly his move came about last May.

“The first time we got in contact, you can imagine, you go into it without trying to believe it too much,” he told

“[You’re thinking] they must just be talking to all the drivers. So I tried to be very relaxed about it. I tried to keep my focus always on the present.

“But during the lockdown, there was nothing to do. There was not a lot to think about, so I started to get a bit more interested and a bit more keen.

“All of a sudden, everything started happening very quickly during that period of time.”

Indeed, despite Daniel Ricciardo's name also being floated around, Sainz emerged as the clear first choice immediately after it was confirmed Sebastian Vettel would be replaced.

And despite suggestions he was chosen merely to become a No.2 to Leclerc, Carlos is excited by the challenge of taking on the Monegasque.

“I’m looking forward to it, mainly because he’s probably one of the drivers on better form on the grid,” Sainz told 

“You could argue he’s had a super strong season, he knows the team, he knows the car very well and he looks to be honestly on top of his game. 

“With the combination of youth and experience that he has now, I think I’ll be up against the strongest, or definitely one of the strongest drivers on the grid. It will be a great benchmark for me,” he stated.

“I will obviously start with a bit of a disadvantage not knowing the car, having very little winter testing, having one-day-and-a-half to prepare the season

“I will have a lot of catch up to do in the first half of the year, in the first races, as I get to know the team and the car. But it will be great to have him as a benchmark and see how quickly I can get up to speed and keep helping the team to get better.” 

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Sainz joins Ferrari as the Italian team hopes to rebound from their worst finish in the Constructors' Championship in 40 years of P6 in 2020.

And after McLaren noted the strong bond he formed with Norris as important to their gains on track, the 26-year-old hopes for a similar situation with Leclerc.

“Obviously my relationship with Lando is great and I enjoyed it a lot,” Sainz explained. 

“Since the moment we met, we always had a good feeling with each other and we have managed to translate that into a very healthy and competitive relationship also at the track. We respect each other but we also keep it really competitive and really respectful. 

“I think this is helping a lot the team to move forward and to now be third in the Constructors’ Championship, we are always looking out for each other on track and bringing a fair bit of points for the team. 

“That’s exactly what I want to carry over into Ferrari. I’ve always got on well with my teammates, it’s never been an issue for me and I already get on very well with Charles and I have no problems with that and I’m sure I can also have a good relationship there.”