Sainz exceeded McLaren expectations, will push Leclerc at Ferrari

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown has hailed Carlos Sainz for his performances during their short stint together.

The Spaniard only moved to the Woking-based outfit at the start of 2019, after choosing to replace his fellow countryman Fernando Alonso rather than see if he would earn a promotion at Red Bull.

But in that one year, Sainz helped McLaren finish 'best of the rest' in fourth in the Constructors' standings and secured sixth himself in the Drivers' Championship, including a first podium in Brazil.

"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 told Sky Sports after his move was announced.

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"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 Kubica's tyre blowout, so he didn't really start scoring points in the first couple of races."

The McLaren chief also highlighted the bromance Sainz struck up with teammate Lando Norris.

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

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

As for his next move to Ferrari, Brown revealed the first time he was made aware of the possibility was during the winter and now that it will be a reality, he expects Sainz to perform.

"I think he's going to go really well at Ferrari, I think he's going to give [Charles] Leclerc a run for his money, I think he'll be really good for the Ferrari mould," he claimed.

"If they have a race-winning car I think Carlos is going to win races."