Friendly rivalry is driving Toro Rosso up the F1 grid – Carlos Sainz Jr

Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr believes the friendly rivalry between him and team-mate Max Verstappen is proving to be beneficial for both him and the team.

The 2015 season for the Italian-based team was compromised by unreliability and and an underpowered Renault power unit which saw them finish in seventh in the Constructors’ Championship, eleven points behind the Lotus F1 Team.  Sainz himself had a better rookie season than his points tally and final position in the championship implies, with the Spaniard losing a number of top ten finishes due to those reliability issues the team suffered.

“I knew Max was ready for F1,” said Sainz to Autosport. “I said [during 2015 pre-season] that we are both in the same boat, fighting hard.

“I’ve never had a team-mate where our data looks so similar to each other, we match every speed in every corner, everything is so similar. We learn from each other, we keep pushing each other and this is making the team go forward and maybe being ahead of where we should be.

“The winter is very important, it’s where you analyse everything you have done. You put the data back into your computers and you come back stronger.

“In the past, I’ve always made quite big steps one year to the other so I will try and do another big step and learn as much as I can. You don’t always have time to reflect on what you have done so the winter is important.

“The experience I have and the analysis I do will make 2016 a better year without changing much. With a bit less reliability issues and a bit more power maybe we can be in top eight and top six, rather than top 10.”