Carlos Sainz says his relationship with Charles Leclerc is “even better” than last season despite the team-mates now being in a position to fight for race wins.
This season Ferrari have taken a marked step forward, the F1-75 already a two-time grand prix winner.
With both wins coming from Leclerc, the Monégasque driver had held a healthy lead of the Drivers’ Championship but recently lost that to Max Verstappen.
Sainz is still waiting for his first win in a season in which many of the early predictions were that the Ferrari drivers who be fighting each other for P1.
But as that has not happened, neither has the tension that many expected would come with it.
“In terms of relationship, everything has been very stable, if anything even better, so all going well so far,” Sainz told the official F1 website.
“He’s a great guy, we have a lot of mutual respect, which helps our working relationship.
“He’s doing a great job adapting to the new car, the new regs, he’s extracting everything out of this Ferrari that I’m trying to do also, and in certain ways copy.
“I’m having fun with him, we get on well – and we work in the same direction, which is important.”
Leclerc already has two wins and five pole positions, with Sainz still waiting for both his first win and his first pole.
He reckons “one to two tenths” is all that stands between him and getting his name on the board for both.
Sainz says it is up to him to find that added pace to challenge his team-mate.
He added: “He’s driving at a very high level, he’s putting together super-impressive lap times, an impressive way of driving and I can only admire and try and in some ways copy, and in others try and put it a bit more in my liking to be faster.
“Sometimes it goes like this and as a driver you just need to go through a process and challenge yourself.”
Leclerc is currently second in the Drivers’ Championship, nine points behind Max Verstappen, while Sainz is fifth, 42 points behind Red Bull’s championship leader.
As for Ferrari, the Scuderia trails Red Bull by 36 points after the latter went on a run of four successive race wins.
Torquing Point: Carlos Sainz's intelligence and strength shines through - Monaco GP Conclusions
Carlos Sainz delivered a strong drive in Monaco to come home in second and make Ferrari think twice about calling him their second driver.