Carlos Sainz has refuted claims that his rivalry with Max Verstappen played a role in Red Bull's decision to separate the drivers ahead of the Spanish GP.
Explaining why Red Bull decided to drop Daniil Kvyat to Toro Rosso and promote Verstappen to the senior team, Helmut Marko spoke of discord at the junior outfit.
He said: "There was considerable unrest at Toro Rosso between Verstappen and Sainz.
"Thus we have internally resolved several problems and we have not removed Kvyat, but he is still with us in the squad."
Sainz, though, has downplayed that "considerable unrest."
Asked about his relationship with the Dutch teenager, he said: "I think the personal relationship Max and I have is not a big issue honestly. I think we both always maintain the respect off the track and I think we showed it at every moment.
"I think it’s more a matter of a team perspective of how the team was working and that’s where Franz Tost and Helmut Marko take the decision. But from Max and myself there was always respect, there was always good vibes with each other.
"Obviously we were fighting a lot on track, we were always very very close to each other and there were always some battles going on but they stayed at the track and out there it was just a matter of engineering, of just not being a comfortable team and that’s why they decided to take this decision internally."
He added: "We were just talking – before coming in here – about that we were going to go go-karting in one week together so that shows that it really stays on track."
The Spaniard was also questioned about why he believes it was Verstappen who was handed the Red Bull race-seat.
He replied: "I don’t get to evaluate the performance of each driver so easily. That is done by my bosses at Red Bull. Now my time… I appreciate what Red Bull is going quite a lot, that is to put young talent into a Formula One team.
"As soon as you do a good job they show you the confidence, they give you the chance and now it’s my time to fight more than ever for that.
"I have 17 races ahead to give the maximum out of myself, to fight for my chance as much as I can. I’m sure that if I show the same speed I have now with a bit better results my chance can come."
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