Carlos Sainz Jr not unnerved by Max Verstappen's Toro Rosso F1 deal

Carlos Sainz Jr says the fact that he was initially overlooked by Toro Rosso in favour of Max Verstappen means nothing now that they are 2015 Formula 1 team-mates

Carlos Sainz Jr not unnerved by Max Verstappen's Toro Rosso F1 deal

Red Bull thrust Verstappen straight from European Formula 3 to a Toro Rosso position just days after recruiting him to its junior programme, elevating him ahead of its long-time young drivers - including eventual Formula Renault 3.5 champion Sainz.

OPINION: Toro Rosso was right to choose Sainz

Sebastian Vettel's departure for Ferrari and Daniil Kvyat's promotion to Red Bull Racing to replace him ultimately opened up a second Toro Rosso F1 slot after all, with the team announcing Sainz for the drive on Friday.

The 20-year-old Spaniard said he and Verstappen would now start on an equal footing in their bid to be next to earn a Red Bull Racing graduation.

"Red Bull has the same pressure for both of us to do a good job," said Sainz.

"Just because he was announced first, it means nothing.

"In March we are both starting from scratch and that's why I'll have to do better than him from the first race, and to try to surprise the bosses more than he does. That's the target."

But while admitting that it would be important for his career to beat Verstappen, Sainz said their relationship was good so far.

"I met him on Sunday in Abu Dhabi and we talked for an hour and it went really well - better than you could imagine because there was no tension whatsoever," he said.

"Both of us have a lot to learn to develop the car during the year, and also to try to beat each other, which will be the fun part."

Sainz said Red Bull junior programme chief Dr Helmut Marko had given him a lot of support in the build-up to his F1 announcement, and he intends to repay his backer's faith.

"I've told him that I'm very grateful and that he can be calm because he made the right decision and I'm not going to let him down," said Sainz.

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