Sainz returns favour to Norris with Baku prediction

Mark Scott
Carlos Sainz Lando Norris McLaren Ferrari

Carlos Sainz puts Lando Norris among group of potential World Champions.

After Lando Norris predicted success for Carlos Sainz in Monaco, Sainz has now returned the favour ahead of the next round in Azerbaijan.

The two former team-mates and good friends shared the podium together alongside race winner Max Verstappen in Monte Carlo, which made for an entertaining FIA post-race conference between the trio.

Ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, Norris revealed he messaged Sainz to stay he had a good chance of winning in his Ferrari and that almost came true as the Spaniard finished P2 behind Verstappen.

A question was asked to all three drivers about their chances at another street circuit to come in Baku, so Sainz used that opportunity to place some friendly pressure of his own.

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Carlos Sainz: Well, I said before coming into this weekend that Monaco would be a good reference for me to know how confident I am in the new car, the new team and, to be honest, I was feeling really, really at home since FP1, so I’ve been fast all weekend.

Now, going into Baku, I think that we’re not going to be the best ones on that long straight but at the same time, if we can make the time back on the tight part then we should be OK. I think the one that now should be excited about Baku is my friend Lando Norris here on my left, that he has a…

Max Verstappen: …a rocket!

Lando Norris: whoa, whoa, whoa!

CS: …a bit of a rocket on the straight, and the car was definitely not bad last year in Monza, not bad around Monaco, so maybe I will bet for you! He put me under pressure coming into this weekend saying that I might have the chance to win!

LN: Was I right?

CS: You were right! Of course. Now let’s see if I’m right in Baku.

MV: You should ask money for it. You were clearly right.

LN: You think I should bet on it?

Norris was then pressed for an answer to the initial question about his chances in Baku.

LN: Ah, it’s going to be a great weekend!

MV: Yeah, he’s going to put it on pole.

LN: We’ll see. These guys are quick on the straights – the guy in the middle is [Max] – you need some good straightline speed, you need good confidence on the brakes with that lower downforce, but we’ll see.

Two weeks ago in Barcelona we struggled a lot and a bit of that is why we were thinking we were not going to be competitive here, because of the final sector. Although it’s not as slow speed anymore compared to what it used to be, we still struggled in those slow-speed corners, which is why we were thinking we were not going to be good here – but it changes.

We’re still learning the car, even though it’s pretty similar to last year. There’s some changes and they’ve definitely affected the car, so we’re better in places, maybe slightly worse in places but yeah, considering we were thinking we were not going to be good here and we came out pretty good… I don’t think it’s good to set too many expectations.

CS [to LN]: So, how are you going to do in Baku?

MV: No expectations…?

LN: I’m just… I’ll be ahead of Carlos!

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