Lando Norris says his good relationship with teammate Carlos Sainz is a big reason why McLaren was able to finish third in the 2020 F1 constructors' championship.

McLaren secured third in the championship for the first time since 2012 after Norris and Sainz finished fifth and sixth in Abu Dhabi.

The Woking-based outfit trailed Racing Point by 10 points going into this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but were aided by a strong turn of pace and a second retirement in three races for Sergio Perez.

Norris believes the duo’s strong relationship has allowed McLaren to push onto greater heights in 2020.

“That has been one of the most important things in achieving P3 this year was the combination of good mates and good friendship but also how competitive and how much we want to beat each other,” Norris said. “I think when you put them both together you get the perfect combination to get P3.

“There’s been a lot of races this year when we’ve executed things very well as a team between us and we’ve scored much better results because of that. That’s because I respect Carlos, he respects me and we wanted us to do the best job for the team and things like today demonstrate that perfectly in our teamwork.

Sainz replaces Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari in 2021 and Spaniard says helping McLaren to third in the constructors’ championship is the “best way to sign off”.

“Very happy, very happy for everyone,” Sainz said. “I think we deserve it. We’ve done an incredible year. It hasn’t been easy because we’ve not been third quickest at times. I think great execution, a great job by everyone back at base. Congratulations and I think it’s the best way to sign off my time with McLaren.

“It’s been an incredible two seasons for me. I am extremely happy to be part of this great progression. The team that is always getting better and better. I have obviously a new challenge ahead of me that I can’t wait to be honest but at least today, it’s time to celebrate with McLaren, time to enjoy this last couple of years, time to reflect and make sure we celebrate properly P3 because it’s huge for this team. It just shows that the team is going in the right direction so I am very happy.”

McLaren CEO Zak Brown added: “It’s been a really difficult season in the public spotlight, unfortunately, some of our challenges. To bring the investment in this weekend, the job Lando and Carlos have done this year, the job all the men and women at McLaren have done, this is really a third place that is a true team effort. It was awesome. It was a bit stressful on the pit wall.

“It might have looked like a boring race for Lando and Carlos but it was very exciting on pit wall. All credit to everyone on the team, all 800 plus people. We really got it together this year.”