Carlos Sainz has enjoyed a successful start to his Ferrari career despite going up against a tough competitor in teammate Charles Leclerc, however the Spaniard believes there is more to come in the second half of the season.
Sainz currently finds himself ahead of Leclerc in the Drivers' Championship by three points thanks to podium finishes in Monaco and Hungary. Despite the success, he still doesn't think he's driving as consistently as he did in 2019 or 2020.
"Ferrari was a new start for me with a lot of question marks," Sainz stated while speaking with Auto Motor und Sport.
"I knew I was up against one of the fastest drivers, if not the fastest. The goal for every driver is to be the best in the field. You don’t just want to beat your teammate.
"And in a car Charles knows well, and in a team where he is well integrated, it makes you wonder how you will fit in. I can say after half a year I am happy with how I have coped with the task. The speed was there from the beginning.
"But I still have to work on doing everything right for a whole weekend on a regular basis. I still don’t have the feeling I’m driving consistently like in 2019 and 2020. There are still a few points I need to improve. But when things go wrong for me, Charles is there and vice versa.
"We are very close and push each other to better lap times from first practice. I know how strong Charles is. That has improved my own level because I want to beat him.”
Sainz says he has a good relationship on and off the track with Leclerc, as their relationship developed naturally.
"Charles is a good guy," Sainz added. "You can have good conversations with him and do sports or play chess together. He’s not only fast, he's also respectful. It’s easy to get along well with him.
"If I enjoy myself, my performance is better. Why should I mess with my teammate? It doesn’t do me any good. It works better if you can laugh about things together and joke about good and bad laps in qualifying."