McLaren CEO Zak Brown has said former driver Carlos Sainz "exceeded our expectations" during his time at the team.
Sainz spent two seasons with McLaren after been dropped by Renault after just one campaign. In his time with McLaren, the Spaniard helped the team climb the constructors' standings, culminating in a third-place finish last year.
Sainz will race with Ferrari this year, the deal announced before the start of the 2020 season, and Brown had nothing but praise for the now rival driver.
“I think he exceeded our expectations," he said. "I think it goes to show that when you give a driver a really good environment, not just a good race car but a good environment, you get the most out of them.
“I think that is something that Andreas [Seidl - team principal] and I in the garage are pretty good at and he really excelled.
“He was very fast in qualifying, a very tough racer. He was demanding when he needed to be and he did a great job in the last two years. I would say he exceeded our expectations.”
As a driver pairing, Sainz and Lando Norris complimented each other well with the Spaniard's experience aiding the development of his younger team-mate.
Away from the track, the two enjoyed a strong relationship with social media dubbing the pair 'CarLando'.
Brown believes a crucial aspect of the team's impressive development over the past two seasons has been down to the healthy workplace atmosphere created by the team's hierarchy.
"I think you have to adapt to each individual," he explained. "How you work with Lando is different to how we worked with Carlos, which is different to how we worked with Fernando Alonso.
“I think that some teams, not all teams, have a ‘here’s how we work, you adapt to us’ [method]. That works for some, but at McLaren, it is a family atmosphere that we have created so we adapt to each other and I think we helped to raise Carlos’ confidence that he had.
“I think, when you drive under a series of one-year agreements, you feel like the next race might be your last race and that’s certainly not a good way to get any employee motivated if they are living under this constant, unreasonable, pressure.
“That worked really well for us and we both maximized each other’s development.”
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