Sainz edged out Ferrari teammate Leclerc in the drivers’ championship to secure an impressive fifth overall in his first year with the team.

Despite being out-qualified and out-raced by Leclerc, Sainz was incredibly consistent, scoring points in 14 consecutive races. 

Sainz and Leclerc ended 2021 as arguably the best driver pairing on the grid as their performances guided Ferrari back to the top three in the constructors’ championship, well clear of McLaren. 

In a bid to get on Leclerc’s pace, Sainz admitted that he had to learn a lot from his Monegasque teammate throughout the year.

“I would have to pinpoint a lot of them because this year to be honest since the moment I arrived to winter testing in Bahrain I had a lot of things to learn from Charles,” Sainz said. “The way that he was driving the Ferrari in a particular way to be as quick and as fast as he’s being all year long and I’ve had to adapt myself, I had to copy a lot of the stuff that I was seeing on the data. 

“Sometimes it was difficult to believe that it was possible to do that and it was so crazy quick that it was actually a bit shocking but little by little adapting and trying to learn from him I managed to get to a good level and there are still things that when we will go into the winter break he’s much stronger than me in certain areas. 

“We will exchange some information and we will try and both become better drivers learning from each other and I think that this tight battle and this tight competition is what is going to bring Charles and me again to a better level next season and it’s also going to benefit Ferrari and ourselves so it’s a great competition to have and a great teammate to have apart from a great guy and a super cool guy to have as a teammate.”

Leclerc was asked the same question and felt he benefitted from Sainz’s impressive tyre management and race pace - an area he struggled in before.

“I think we learned a lot, I mean as always when you know you have a new teammate you always learn with just the new ways Carlos is approaching race weekends, the way he works, his talent, his raw speed also, the way he takes the corners,” Leclerc explained. 

“And he’s had an amazing year so he has obviously pushed me very, very much to try and perform better at every race and it’s just been extremely interesting to be his teammate. I think maybe one of the strong points of Carlos is the race management and tyre management and that’s probably been my weakness in 2019. 

“I’ve progressed a lot as a driver in 2020 and again this year and part of this year is thanks to Carlos.”