Carlos Sainz is confident he can hold his own against his highly-rated teammate Max Verstappen.
The pair both made their debuts for Toro Rosso this year, but it is only the 17-year-old Verstappen who is being compared with the sport’s greats.
“They say that he is the new Senna,” Spaniard Sainz, 20, said during a visit this week to Rome’s Universita Roma Tre.
“But it is very difficult to assess the quality of the drivers in F1 today.
“You can only be compared with your teammate, and Max and I are similar in terms of driving,” he insisted.
“Max is very strong,” Sainz acknowledged, “and it is true that journalists talk a lot more about him than they about me.
“That puts a little more pressure on me but I have so much confidence in myself and I always think that I can beat him.”
Verstappen, on the other hand, says that despite their rivalry, the rookie pair are getting along well so far.
“It’s going very well between Carlos and me,” said the Dutchman on a visit to Zandvoort this week.
“I think that’s very important — that we can work well together to improve the car.”
Many insiders believe their car, the James Key-headed STR10, might even be better than the one fielded by big-brother team Red Bull Racing.
But Sainz says the Faenza outfit knows it cannot compete for ever with the ‘other’ Red Bull team.
“Their budget is 400 million, ours 100,” he insisted. “Often, the first four races of a season are not indicative of what happens later on.
“We are aiming for fifth place,” Sainz added. (GMM)