Norris sits third in the drivers' standings after two podiums and an additional two top-five finishes in the opening five rounds of the championship, with the second of his third places coming last time out at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Sainz, who partnered Norris at McLaren for two seasons before switching to Ferrari this year, believes the British driver can take McLaren "wherever he wants".
Sainz added: "There are a bunch of drivers now who are at a very similar level of performance and I would include Lando amongst them, that they are potential world champions and they just need the right car to win it.
"I would include myself and I would include Charles [Leclerc], of course, and many others.
"The level in F1 is so high that unfortunately, we are more dependent on what the team is capable of rather than what we can do but I believe Lando has the potential to win and take McLaren to the top."
Leclerc sees no cons to long-term Ferrari deal
Ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, Norris was handed a new long-term contract with McLaren that expires at the end of 2023.
Leclerc is bound to Ferrari himself for a further five years and when asked what the pros and cons of such a deal were, he responded: "I don't think there are a lot of cons on my side.
"To be with Ferrari is a dream since I was younger and I think is a dream for many drivers so I believe in the project and that is why I have signed a long-term contract with Ferrari.
"I am very happy and on my side, I don't see any cons otherwise I probably wouldn't have gone for it. Everything was telling me to go for it so I am very happy where I am."
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