Carlos Sainz Jr doubts that Max Verstappen played a part in him failing to win a move to Red Bull for 2019 and denied they don’t get on. The 24-year-old appeared certain to be the man Red Bull turned to when Daniel Ricciardo confirmed that he would be moving to Sainz Jr’s current team Renault for the 2019 Formula 1 campaign.
However, the Milton Keynes-based outfit instead opted to promote fellow Red Bull junior programme member Pierre Gasly from Toro Rosso to team up with Verstappen next year.
It was suggested that the Dutch driver urged Red Bull bosses to avoid Sainz Jr after the pair were big rivals together at Toro Rosso in 2015.
But the Spanish driver has spoken out to claim that it was his decision to move to Renault last year, and not Verstappen, which was more than likely the reason behind him being overlooked.
Sainz Jr, who will instead replace compatriot Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2019, told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast: “It is a very difficult question you could ask him, but I think as we got on well and we have a rivalry of course, I wouldn’t think he would go to Helmut [Marko] or to Christian [Horner] and say: ‘No I don’t want Carlos.’
“First of all, because the moment you say that, you sound weak, if you to go a team boss and say I don’t want him as a teammate, you already sound weak. Secondly, I don’t think he ever really said that.”
When asked about the perception that the two drivers were not on good terms, Sainz Jr added: “It’s one of the big enigmas of the paddock. Everyone thinks me and Max hate each other, and that’s absolutely not the case.
“We knew we were battling for our careers, for our Formula 1 pedigree on our first year, rookie season. I got on with him a lot better than what people think.”