Carlos Sainz believes that being teammates with Fernando Alonso would be the biggest ask in Formula 1 today. The 23-year-old will be leaving Renault at the end of the year, and has been heavily linked with a move to McLaren.
However, it is unclear if he would be partnering Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne or another driver at the team should he make the switch. Alonso is heavily out-performing current teammate Vandoorne, with the Belgian yet to get the better of Alonso in qualifying this season.
When asked if he would be able to beat Alonso, Sainz replied: "I don't know, because I haven't even thought about it, as still it's not happening. I'm ready to beat anyone in the field. My racing spirit and my competitiveness and my self-confidence tells me that I can take over anyone.
"Probably Fernando would be the biggest ask that you could have on the grid, that's for sure. But yeah, I would feel ready for anything," he added.
Alonso has been an idol of Sainz for many years, as the latter grew up watching his compatriot winning races and championships. And Sainz says that racing alongside his hero is something that he could never have imagined happening to him.
"I think since I arrived in F1 I have started next to him in nearly every race, which is quite strange," he said. "It's something I didn't expect, because you would expect Fernando to be fighting for world championships instead of fighting with me in the midfield at the beginning of my career.
"But what I feel particularly proud of, and particularly happy [about], is that these few years I've been taught by the best. I don't feel I've been driving in the midfield. I feel like I've been driving for world titles, because simply to be up against Fernando in every race, also Jenson [Button], when he was in McLaren, it's been a great feeling. That is what it makes me feel ready for whatever comes."