Lando Norris says that he is still good friends with Carlos Sainz, even though their rivalry on track has increased.
The two drivers became a popular pairing with fans during their time as teammates at McLaren in 2019 and 2020 given their friendship away from the circuit. Sainz has since left the team to drive for Ferrari, McLaren's main rival during the 2021 Formula 1 season.
When asked whether the battle between the two sides had affected his relationship with Sainz, Norris explained that they have remained pals, but that they continue to be fierce rivals when racing.
"We still speak to each other every now and then," Norris told media including RacingNews365.com.
"I guess maybe not as often or as closely as we were [in the] past couple of years. But no, we're still mates, we still got along.
"As much as the rivalry's probably increased, and he wants to beat me and I want to beat him, and [the] teams want to beat each other, we still just have a lot of respect for each other and who we are as drivers and so on.
"So I don't think that takes anything away from who we are, no matter what team we're in."
Still a competitive relationship between Norris and Sainz
Away from the track, Norris and Sainz occasionally spend time together and particularly like to play golf, meaning that there is still a competitive element to their friendship.
"I guess we just don't spend as much time together, but we still play golf and we still have that competitive side of us," Norris said.
"So we still get to play every now and then. But when we're on track, I think no matter how good mates you are with anyone - on or off the track, or off the track - when you're on track, you kind of forget about all of that and you just want to beat everyone no matter what colour car they're in."
In terms of on-track action, Sainz beat Norris in the 2021 F1 World Championship by finishing fifth with 164.5 points, whilst Norris was just four and a half points behind in sixth place.
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