Carlos Sainz reckons the Toro Rosso team have bonded in the wake of Max Verstappen’s departure, saying everyone “started working a bit more together.”
Sainz and Verstappen were team-mates at Toro Rosso with the Dutchman gaining the upper hands in the results.
That earned him a promotion to Red Bull Racing, while Daniil Kvyat returned to Toro Rosso as Sainz’s new team-mate at this year’s Spanish GP.
The new partnership has been a good one for Sainz, who this time around is the leading points-scorer with 26 to the Russian driver’s two.
Asked how the change had impacted the ‘dynamic’ at Toro Rosso, Sainz told Autosport: “The only thing that has changed is I know Daniil a lot more from previous categories.
“I know how he works, how he acts, we know each other perfectly.
“With Max, it was a new team-mate for me from 2015 onwards.
“On the team dynamic, maybe everything is a bit more open, everyone started working a bit more together, maybe started working in more of a team.
“The separation was there but it is normal that it was there when you have two strong team-mates.”
The Spaniard also spoke of the rivalry he had with Verstappen, who grabbed a lot of the plaudits with his passing manouvres and results.
It did, however, create a bit of tension between the team-mates with Red Bull even citing that as one of the reasons behind Verstappen’s promotion.
Sainz said: “I was enjoying it.
“When you have two strong team-mates, there will always been some friction between the two drivers.
“It was not that I was not liking it. We had to deal with it but I didn’t see it as a bad situation.”
Since Verstappen’s departure, Sainz has finished six of eight grands prix inside the points but insists that has nothing to do with the Dutchman leaving.
He added: “I know you could correlate it because in theory when he left my results started coming but honestly, it has nothing to do with it.
“If Max had been in the team for the last 10 races it wouldn’t have changed massively the results I have achieved recently.
“It’s just lately, nothing has happened to me and I have proved consistency.”
Enjoy the full experience of the 2016 FIA Formula One season on FOX Sports Play, where you can catch LIVE races from angles unseen before, exclusive interviews, behind the scenes, in-depth analysis and so much more. Don’t miss it!