Carlos Sainz admitted that when Max Verstappen was promoted to Red Bull he had to hide his true emotions as he felt overlooked by the Austrian team’s seniors.
Following Daniil Kvyat’s poor performances at Red Bull, the Russian was dropped down to Toro Rosso while Verstappen was promoted ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix. The move proved fruitful as the teenager became the youngest Formula 1 winner in history as he won his first race with the senior team.
Sainz, though, was determined to show Helmut Marko and co. that he should have been the one to be given the opportunity.
"I tried to show a lot of strength but it was a difficult moment, obviously, because you don't like being overlooked by someone," he told Autosport.
"People talked about how difficult it was for Kyvat but people thought it was easy for me also. They didn't take into account that it was also a difficult moment for me, that I had to react and I had to suddenly take the attention of Red Bull.
"I said to myself, 'I will prove you wrong' and then my best three races in Formula 1 came directly after that and a contract arrived in Baku and I signed it immediately."
The development motivated the Spaniard for the rest of 2016 as he outperformed Kvyat in the remaining races of the season.
"I remember when this happened, I was going to Barcelona, it was my home race. There was pressure from the change of team-mate and it was nearly obligatory for me to be ahead,” said the 22-year-old.
"I was under a lot of pressure but suddenly everything went perfect from then onwards in the season so it was a good moment and something that I'm very proud of."