Former Spanish race driver De la Rosa opened up on what his thoughts were about Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz’s prospects next year. Verstappen outscored Sainz, 48 points to 19 in this season’s driver’s standings. Both have played their first complete season together at Toro Rosso.
De la Rosa raced for Sainz’s future team once in 2005 and for eight races at the end of 2006, where he scored his one and only F1 podium at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
De La Rosa said that the next season is only going to be better for both the drivers. “Next year they probably will not fight for a podium but they will be more competitive than this year”, he said.“Honestly, I believe we have seen the worst of McLaren, but you have to be realistic as it is highly unlikely that from the back of the grid they will be podium contenders next year. This does not happen in Formula 1”, he added.
Sainz was heavily linked with a move to replace Daniel Ricciardo. However, Red bull rejected Carlos Sainz and eventually opted to go with Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly, leaving Sainz with little to choose from. Sainz will replace Fernando Alonso, at the end of the season at McLaren. De La Rosa spoke highly of Sainz and said that he would be a perfect substitute for Alonso.
“I see [Carlos Sainz] as a top driver and for me, it is very clear that he is at the same level as Verstappen and Hulkenberg and faster than many others which shows the level he is at”, said De La Rosa.
“I have no doubt he is World Champion material”, he continued.however, he refused to compare Alonso’s illustrious career with Sainz’s. “The next Alonso? The comparisons are odious because Fernando is one of the best in history. In fifteen years we will be in a position to compare them, not now”, said De La Rosa.