Speaking to Italian publication Corriere, Ferrari’s new recruit Carlos Sainz spoke about various topics to do with Ferrari, his teammate, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Sainz was quizzed when he first felt the magic of driving for Scuderia Ferrari. It proved to be an immediate feeling.
"In the first test at Fiorano in January, when I came out of the garage, did the warm-up lap and saw the fans behind the fence with the welcome banners. An emotion came over me. I'll never forget that day."
Asked about what is so special about teammate Charles Leclerc, Sainz gave a powerful answer.
"His story. He lost a friend, Jules Bianchi, then his father. He became even stronger by overcoming tremendous tragedies. That's why I admire him so much. I've followed his whole career."
Ferrari’s 2021 line-up consisting of Leclerc and Sainz is the youngest the Italian giants have fielded since 1968 and has changed the perception that they go with very experienced drivers and make conservative choices. Sainz believes he and his teammate can get the team back to the top of Formula One.
"Some people think we are too young for Ferrari, but I'm 26 and in my seventh season in F1. I have the skills to help this team get back into winning positions. We already know the value of Charles. He has proved it," said Sainz.
"We are pushing hard in Maranello. We are always in the simulator, always with the engineers and mechanics. Two young drivers bring a lot of energy. We are full of energy and we want to win."
Despite Max Verstappen comfortably taking pole position in Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton took victory after a nail-biting final few laps at the Sakhir Grand Prix. Sainz believes the Brit has no weaknesses, after getting asked where his strengths lie.
"Lewis has all the qualities a driver would want to have. He has no weaknesses, I can see that on the track," said the 26-year-old.
"Maybe Lewis lacked competition in some seasons. He had to beat one/two opponents at most. But if we put everyone in the same car, Lewis would be among the best. Almost certainly the best."
Sainz faced Max Verstappen at Toro Rosso in 2015 as they both started in F1 at the same time. Whilst the Spaniard won the qualifying head-to-head 10-9, the Dutchman outscored his rival 49-18. He knew straight away that Verstappen was a supremely talented driver.
"You could tell right away that Max was special, that he had extraordinary qualities. Being able to keep up with him has given me the confidence to continue in F1,’’ he said.
"I knew I was in the right place and that I could fight with anyone."