Ferrari announced in December Charles Leclerc had signed a new long-term extension to his contract. Speaking to the official F1 website, Sainz said Ferrari first contacted him in the “winter between 2019 and 2020”.
Sainz praised McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown’s response when he asked to initiate discussions with Ferrari.
“The moment I heard that [from Ferrari] I went then ask permission to Zak to go and talk to them in a more serious way. And without knowing what Zak’s reaction was going to be, he immediately came to me and say, ‘look, it’s an opportunity, go and talk to them and see what they’re about’.”
The future Ferrari team mates already have a good relationship, said Sainz.
“I actually spend quite a lot of time with Charles in drivers’ parades. He’s one of those guys that I have probably a bit more of a relationship with: The guy that you go and find for a quick conversation in the drivers’ parade before the race.
“Also he used to be one of my main competitors who I was going to try and overtake at the start because normally he was a few places [ahead]. Instead of spending time with Daniel [Ricciardo] or Lando [Norris] in the drivers’ parade for one hour prior to the start, when you were wanting to overtake everyone and feeling that hunger of trying to overtake everyone, I said I’m going to spend time with one guy that I’m probably not going to see in one hour and a half.
“I was going to Charles and discussing a bit about the race, about the strategies and the car, how did it feel, and the qualifying of the day before. So I do have a good relationship with Charles and I’ve been in touch already with him and it’s been good so far.”
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