Carlos Sainz has applauded his former team-mate Lando Norris for his podium success at Imola, a race in which he beat the Ferraris to P3.
Norris’ Emilia Romagna Grand Prix saw both lows and highs as the McLaren driver looked to have qualified P3 only to lose his final lap time for exceeding track limits.
Lining up P7 instead, the Briton was behind one of the Ferraris with Charles Leclerc fourth on the grid while Sainz was 11th, disappointed with his own qualifying performance.
After 63 laps of wet-dry conditions and a healthy touch of chaos, it was Norris who managed to get ahead, bringing his MCL35M home in third place ahead of the two Ferraris.
Sainz was one of the first to congratulate his former McLaren team-mate.
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“It looked like this weekend Lando did a very good job of exploiting the whole car potential,” said the Spaniard.
“He was on it the whole weekend, especially from Saturday onwards and he did a good race.”
Sunday’s result means Norris has now twice come from behind Leclerc to beat the Monégasque driver, with McLaren seemingly having the better race pace.
As such, McLaren are holding down third place in the Constructors’ Championship, seven points ahead of Ferrari.
Sainz is predicting a thrilling battle with McLaren throughout the season, saying the Ferrari and McLaren both have strengths and weaknesses that will play out at different tracks.
“It is very tight,” he said.
“Maybe they had a bit of the upper hand this weekend or they had the upper hand a tiny bit the last two weekends. But as soon as we do a very good weekend and we go to a track that maybe favours us a bit, I think we can be ahead.
“I think the McLaren has its strengths and weaknesses so what makes it like a really nice fight is that we are quick in very different places on the track and it makes it a very fun battle.”