Gené hails the mental strength of Sainz

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Ferrari’s new recruit, Carlos Sainz’s real strength lies in his intelligent and mature approach to racing, says the Italian team’s long-time test driver Marc Gené.

The Maranello-based team has announced last Tuesday that it signed the 25-year-old Carlos Sainz for the 2021 F1 season who will replace the quadruple champion, Sebastian Vettel. With the Italian team confirming the extension of the contract of Charles Leclerc last December, Ferrari is the only team with a full driver line-up for 2021, the season which was expected to see the introduction of key changes, including the cost cap and the technical regulation overhaul.

Sainz made his debut with the Scuderia Toro Rosso team in 2015 alongside Max Verstappen. While the Spaniard scored 18 points that year, the Dutch driver collected 46 points in total. The difference was mainly down to Verstappen’s two fourth-place finished which he secured in the Hungarian and the United States Grands Prix.

Speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ferrari’s test driver Marc Gené stressed that Sainz is incredibly talented in race conditions.

"The difference in practice at the end of the year was only minimal. In my opinion, Carlos gets the most out of a race. We saw it last year: the way he wins positions, manages the tyres, the strategic ability. He often started eleventh and finished fifth."

"At the beginning of the season, he drove around relatively safely, without taking any major risks. But every Grand Prix he improved and in the last two weekends I saw him make attacks that I didn't expect. A sign of more self-confidence. In modern F1 he's a great talent.”

Following his an almost three-year-long spell at Toro Rosso, Sainz decided to leave the Italian outfit in favor of the seat of the works Renault team at the end of 2017. However, when his friend Fernando Alonso announced his departure from Formula 1, leaving the McLaren F1 Team, Sainz joined the Woking-based outfit.

Of 21 grands prix, Sainz collected points twelve times during the 2019 season. On many occasions, the Spaniard has gained places at the start of the races, avoiding collisions during the most important session of the race weekends. Gené hailed the mental strength of the son of the two-time rally champion, Carlos Sainz snr who will become the third Spaniard to drive for the ‘Prancing Horse’ after Fernando Alonso and Alfonso de Portago.

"Sainz is tremendously strong mentally. Carlos knows what he wants from the car and grows in the man-to-man fights on the track. They are just little slips, almost no mistakes to mention. That's why he knows how to collect so many points."

The former Minardi and Williams driver has revealed that he had a long phone conversation with his countryman which showed him again how mature Sainz is despite his young age.

"That's really his great quality. If you talk to him, you'll soon know you're dealing with a mature and intelligent man. Three days ago we phoned for a long time and then I got that confirmation again."