Carlos Sainz has proved why Ferrari “went after him” to replace Sebastian Vettel for 2021 with his “quality” performances this season, says McLaren boss Andreas Seidl.
Prior to the start of the 2020 campaign, Sainz was announced as a Ferrari driver for next year where he will join Charles Leclerc at the Italian outfit.
The Spaniard’s move has been questioned due to Ferrari’s dip in form, although Sainz has shrugged off suggestions he’s regretting joining the team while its going through a bad spell.
Sainz started 15th at last weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix following a penalty for a yellow flag infringement in qualifying, but charged through the field to finish fifth just three seconds off a podium.
“A race like [Turkey] just confirmed the quality Carlos has,” Seidl said, as quoted by Motorsport.com. “We know from previous races in the last years that he likes all of these tricky conditions, he likes these wet or mixed conditions, we know that he is performing well in these conditions, and that he has this talent to take the right approach in terms of risk.
“And he manages to keep the car on track while still making progress on track, and making the moves stick like he did today. And it’s simply a big benefit.
“Also [it helps] if you have a driver that works for some time already with his engineer, and his engineering team, because in conditions like today, you have a lot of communication ongoing between driver and the pit wall.
“And there you see also the experience Carlos has, because it’s important then to stay brief on the radio, calm but also clear of what’s going on out there at the track, so that we can match this with the data we see on the pit wall, and that in the end makes them make the right decisions at the right time.
“He’s a great driver. There’s a reason why Ferrari went after him for next year.”
Despite Sainz’s Ferrari contract being signed before a wheel had been turned, Seidl praised his commitment to McLaren.
“I really like also the approach, how he deals with the situation, together with us, fully committed, very motivational for the entire team,” Seidl said.
“And that’s key I think also for the results we are getting together with him at the moment.
“So I’m really looking forward to the last three races with him in our team, and then hopefully we beat him next year!”
Seidl was also complimentary of Sainz’s team-mate Lando Norris, who recovered from a poor start to finish in the points in Istanbul.
“On Lando’s side, seeing the pace he could show in the race it was obviously disappointing that he was pretty much last after the start,” Seidl said.
“I think he had an anti-stall on the grid, because it was simply so difficult to launch a car from these low grip conditions. He was unfortunately on the bad side of the grid.
“So that obviously compromised then the rest of his race, but also there, with the performance he has shown, I’m very happy.
“It confirmed again, also, the quality Lando has, especially in these tricky conditions. And it was great to see how he recovered from last position to P8.”