Thuesday, 07 august 2018, 10:05 , by Martin Macdonald
Carlos Sainz has admitted that partnering Fernando Alonso would probably "be the biggest ask you could have on the grid" as speculation mounts that he could be recruited by McLaren next season to partner his compatriot, who he has previously described as one of his heroes.
With Daniel Ricciardo's move to Renault confirmed, it will likely start a chain reaction of drivers moving around, with Red Bull obviously needing a replacement for the departing Australian.
Sainz will likely leave Renault now, and has been tipped to make the move to McLaren to potentially partner, or indeed replace, Alonso. He admits the second scenario would be a big ask, but nothing is confirmed.
"I haven't even thought about it, as still it's not happening," he said of a potential switch to McLaren.
"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."
Sainz has been a fan of Alonso's for years, and admits that he would not have expected the opportunity to partner his compatriot to arise - as Alonso should be challenging for titles near the top of the grid instead of in the midfield.
"I think since I arrived in F1 I have started next to him in nearly every race, which is quite strange," Sainz continued.
"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."