McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown believes Carlos Sainz will win races at Ferrari and give Charles Leclerc “a run for his money” during the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Sainz is leaving McLaren to join Ferrari for 2021 as part of the driver merry-go-round caused by the announcement of Sebastian Vettel’s departure from the Italian team once his contract expires at the end of the year.

The 25-year-old Spaniard will partner Leclerc, who comprehensively outperformed Vettel on his way to fourth spot in the championship last season, effectively forcing the four-time world champion out of Maranello.

While it has been suggested that Sainz will play something of a back-up role to Leclerc at Ferrari, Brown reckons his current driver prove a tough to beat.

"I think he's going to go really well at Ferrari, I think he's going to give Leclerc a run for his money,” Brown told Sky F1.

"I think he'll be really good for the Ferrari mould. If they have a race-winning car I think Carlos is going to win races."

Sainz achieved a career-best finish of sixth place in the 2019 standings as he helped McLaren secure a vastly-improved fourth-place in the constructors’ championship.

A string of impressive displays from Sainz throughout the year included claiming his maiden F1 podium in Brazil, which capped off a stellar first season at McLaren alongside rookie Lando Norris.

"He did a better job than I even thought he was going to, and obviously we wouldn't have signed him if we didn't think he was going to do a good job,” Brown explained.

"But he really didn't make any mistakes. If you look back I remember in Bahrain [in 2017] where he had that silly incident back in the Toro Rosso days coming out of the pits.

"You didn't see any of those rookie errors which you expect from a young driver.

"Real maturity, a lot of pace - let's not forget he had a poor start to the season, getting caught out in qualifying in Australia by [Robert] Kubica’s tyre blowout, so he didn't really start scoring points in the first couple of races.

"He worked really well with Lando. He's very fast, he's a team player, I never felt nervous when Lando and Carlos were round each other in the track.

"Some of the other teams you see the team mates get near each other, and they seem to have magnets.”

 

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