I’ve seen Carlos do many things better than Daniel, but there’s also a lot of things that Daniel probably does better than Carlos.
It’s a little bit into the unknown because I’ve only had one team-mate in Formula 1, so it’s hard to know what to expect from somebody different.
But I rate Carlos extremely highly, as do Ferrari. I don’t feel like I wasn’t going up against anybody competitive and Daniel is going to do something incredible [in comparison to Sainz]. I’ve seen Carlos do many things better than Daniel, but there’s also a lot of things that Daniel probably does better than Carlos.
He’s a different driver, but he’s not going to be tenths faster than Carlos. Maybe there’s better consistency or better feedback, he’s able to do a better job in qualifying or he’s better at tyre saving, there’s these small things that he can do slightly better in.
A lot of it is just going to be from his [Ricciardo] experience of being with a lot of different teams in Formula 1 and at a Red Bull team which has won races lately.
I can’t wait for the opportunity to learn from someone like that, rather than feel worried or anything like that.
We have different driving styles so sometimes a track or certain corners suits Carlos much better and sometimes they suit me much better. Sometimes, one of us is more in a rhythm or much happier with how the car is and even when it’s not the perfect car, we’re still happy.
There’s certain things that need from the car. When I don’t, I struggle a bit. It’s the same for Carlos.
When one of us is off the pace or generally struggling or looking like they’re not in a good rhythm, it’s because there’s some certain things on the car or way the car is set-up that’s just not giving that driver that confidence to be able to lean on it.
I think that’s what I suffered with a little bit in the middle of last season, it was from some of the upgrades, the newer parts that we had.
Carlos and myself were very close on pace. When one of us is much ahead, sometimes it’s because they’ve done a very good job and they’ve nailed the lap. But more often than not, it’s because one of us is struggling with the set-up or the confidence in the car. That’s our excuse!
I’m not going to give everything away obviously, but it’s along the right lines. Carlos is quite a smooth driver, but quite an aggressive one. He forces the car quite a bit, so when he doesn’t have that stability that’s when he loses that bit of confidence.
It’s a similar thing for me, but impacts Carlos that little bit more. In certain corners, you really need entry stability, when you can’t do what you normally do, or want to do, then it becomes a problem.
But there’s certain corners and certain tracks where Carlos needs that little bit more stability on the entry. I’m more of the kind of guy who needs the front-end in the middle of the corner to carry that little bit more corner speed rather than forcing the car as much on the entries.
It’s something I’ve been trying to do, have that adaptability to drive some corners like Carlos does. Some corners, Carlos can really maximise and do a better job than me and there’s corners that Carlos can’t match what I can do. It’s giving me that wider operating area, to be able to maximise every corner if possible and be able to change my driving style from what I’m comfortable with.
It’s learning from Carlos in some ways, how he drives and being able to change my driving style to match what he does sometimes. It’s not to drive like him, it’s just having those one or two corners where I need to lean a bit more towards his driving style rather than trying to do my driving style.
I’ve been able to lead my own conversations a lot more, lead in decisions and future projects.. Not just thinking about how to maximise that car in the race, but what to look ahead to and prepare for in the next races and next year and in the future.
Almost one of the biggest things, apart from the on-track stuff, it’s the off-track confidence and being able to say what I want from the car, what I need from the car to do a good job for myself.
In 2019 and even 2020, I was very critical of myself and saying I’m not doing a good enough job, but there comes a point when I have to be – not selfish – but have got to say I want this from the car and I’m blaming the car for not giving me that confidence.
I’ve learned how to just say ‘I will be doing a better job if you can make this better on the car’, because it will give me better confidence. Maybe it’s not better on the car, but mentally for myself, for my own performance.
Things like that improve performance and improve consistency. That’s almost one of the biggest things that has changed.