Toro Rosso driver, Carlos Sainz believes his team have massively improved after Max Verstappen was promoted out of Toro Rosso, and into senior team, Red Bull Racing.
The highly regarded teenager was promoted up to Red Bull prior to the Spanish Grand Prix, when Helmut Marko decided it was time to demote Kvyat to Toro Rosso, following his two high-profile accidents with Sebastian Vettel.
Ever since Kvyat replaced Verstappen at Toro Rosso, Sainz has been the effective ‘team leader’; consistently out-performing Daniil Kvyat, who has been on his back-foot ever since the promotion.
Before the Kvyat demotion in May, there had been intense rivalry building up at Toro Rosso between Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz, with the two rookie drivers battling for supremacy. In addition, this was one of the reasons for the change made by Helmut Marko.
“The only thing that has changed is I know Daniil a lot more from previous categories.” Sainz told Autosport.
“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 teammates.”
Sainz also believed there was always friction when partnered with Verstappen due to their competitive nature, however, he adds that he did enjoy his inter-team battles with the teenager.
“I was enjoying it. When you have two strong teammates, there will always be 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.”