Carlos Sainz’s performances this year are demonstrating why Ferrari opted to sign him for the 2021 campaign, according to McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl.
The Spaniard will replace Sebastian Vettel at the Italian marque next year, bringing an end to his two-year stay at McLaren.
Sainz endured a fraught run of events around his Monza podium but has since risen from 11th to seventh in the standings, having surged from 15th on the grid to fifth spot at last weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.
“A race like [Turkey] confirmed the quality Carlos has,” Seidl said. “We know from previous races, the last years, that he likes these tricky conditions.
“We know he performs well there, and he has this talent to take the right approach in terms of risk and keeps the car on track while still making the moves.
“It’s a big benefit if you have a driver that works for some time with his engineers, there’s a lot of communication ongoing between driver and wall.
“You see the experience he has, it’s important to stay brief, calm and clear, so we can match this with the data we see on the pit wall.
“It then makes the right decision at the right time. He’s a great driver, there’s a reason why Ferrari went after him for next year.
“I really like also the approach how he deals with the situation, fully committed, fully motivational for the entire team, and that’s key I think also for the results we are getting together with him at the moment.”
McLaren’s hunt for third in the Championship standings at the end of the year sees it sit just six points down on Racing Point, who currently occupy the third spot.
However after a strong result for Ferrari at Istanbul, Seidl sees the Maranello-based squad as a factor in the fight, affirming he never underestimated its potential despite its difficult campaign so far.
“I know what a team like Ferrari can do and it is not a surprise they are coming back during the season,” Seidl said.
“We never underestimated this power that Ferrari has, they have two great drivers also, and also a great team.
“That’s the reality we are in. It’s important to focus on ourselves that we extract the maximum of what we have, we have a competitive car, it’s a great step forward compared to last year.
“We have already more points than last year, so it shows the progress. At the same time we have very strong competitors and just hope we can keep this battle alive to the last race.”