LONDON (REUTERS) – Carlos Sainz could be a surprise package when he teams up with Charles Leclerc at Ferrari next year, according to the Spaniard's former Formula Three boss Trevor Carlin.
The Briton, who has had a string of Formula One drivers including Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo race for him on their way up to the pinnacle of motor racing, told Reuters that Sainz might even have the advantage.
"Ferrari, if they thought they were hiring a No. 2, might have underestimated Carlos," he said on Friday. "I hope they haven't done that.
"I know there's this story going around that Red Bull have got a No. 1, Mercedes have got a No. 1, Ferrari have got a No. 1. But I don't see that with Carlos.
"I think given the same kit and treatment and cars, he can run him (Leclerc) close.
"I think Carlos is bloody good. Maybe Charles might edge him in qualifying but when it comes to the race, I think Carlos will be all over him. I think he's going to be fighting to earn his stripes there, he really is."
Sainz, 25, was introduced on Thursday as Leclerc's future team-mate, replacing four-times world champion Vettel whose departure at the end of 2020 had been announced two days earlier.
Australian Ricciardo will move from Renault to take Sainz's place at McLaren.
Leclerc, 22, won two races for Ferrari in his debut season at Maranello last year and outperformed Vettel, 32, on just about every reckoning.
The Monegasque now has a contract to the end of 2024 and is expected to be the one leading Ferrari's bid for a first drivers' title since 2008.
From experience and observation, Carlin suggested Sainz might not see it that way.
The son of a double world rally champion and three-time Dakar winner, Sainz has always set himself high goals and had plenty to live up to.
"I think the pressure actually will be on Charles' shoulders," said Carlin. "When Carlos really steps up, he could be the surprise show there and make the tifosi (fans) very, very happy."
Sainz raced for Carlin in the 2012 British F3 and Euro Series, finishing sixth and ninth overall in them respectively.
The Briton said the youngster had not enjoyed 'the roll of the dice' back then.
The Spaniard was a Red Bull-backed driver at the time and went on to make his F1 debut with their Toro Rosso junior team before moving to Renault on loan and then McLaren.
"When you go through Toro Rosso and that whole movement around, you don't necessarily get the chance to develop fully," Read More – Source