"With the combination of youth and experience he has now, I think I’ll be up against the strongest, or definitely one of the strongest drivers on the grid.
"It will be a great benchmark for me. I will obviously start with a bit of a disadvantage not knowing the car, having very little winter testing, having a day and a half to prepare.
"I will have a lot of catching up to do in the first half of the year, in the first races, as I get to know the team and the car.
"But it will be great to have him as a benchmark to see how quickly I can get up to speed and helping the team to get better."
During his two years with McLaren prior to his Ferrari move, Sainz developed a close bond with Lando Norris both on and off track.
The 26-year-old Spaniard is hoping he will be able to forge a similar relationship with Leclerc, who proved in going up against four-time champion Vettel that he was willing to give as good as he received.
"Obviously my relationship with Lando is great and I enjoyed it a lot," assessed Sainz.
"Since the moment we met, we always had a good feeling with each other and we managed to translate that into a very healthy and competitive relationship at the track.
"We respect each other but we also kept it really competitive. This helped the team to move forward a lot. We always looked out for each other on track and brought a fair number of points for the team.
"That’s exactly what I want to carry over into Ferrari. I’ve always got on well with my team-mates. It’s never been an issue for me.
"I already get on very well with Charles and I have no problems with that. I’m sure I can also have a good relationship."
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