Carlos Sainz denies Max Verstappen persuaded Red Bull not to sign him

F1 Grand Prix of Austria - Qualifying

Carlos Sainz has dismissed the suggestion that Max Verstappen vetoed a potential deal to Red Bull for the Spaniard.

Pierre Gasly will partner Verstappen next year, after the Frenchman was selected ahead of Sainz to replace Daniel Ricciardo.

Gasly and Sainz were the main contenders to replace the Renault-bound Ricciardo, but reports emerged at the time suggesting that Verstappen had tried to steer Red Bull towards the Frenchman.

Sainz and Verstappen were teammates in 2015 - their rookie year - for Toro Rosso, the Spaniard winning the qualifying battle 10-9, but on race days the latter triumphed, accruing 49 points to Sainz’s 18.

Although certain paddock rumours suggested Verstappen and his management played a role in Sainz not joining Red Bull, The Spaniard was quick to put the fire out on those claims in the latest edition of F1’s podcast.

Asked if he thought Verstappen had blocked him Sainz responded: "I don’t know, but I would say no. I don’t think drivers really have an effect on that." per ESPN.

“It is a very difficult question you could ask him, but I think as we got on well and we have a rivalry of course, I wouldn’t think he would got to Helmut (Marko) or to Christian (Horner) and say: ‘No I don’t want Carlos.’

“First of all, because the moment you say that, you sound weak, if you go to a team boss and say I don’t want him as a teammate, you already sound weak. Secondly, I don’t think he ever really said that.”

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The 24-year-old was also quick to squash rumours of a strained relationship with Verstappen while the duo were at Toro Rosso.

“It’s one of the big enigmas of the paddock,” he said. “Everyone thinks me and Max hate each other, and that’s absolutely not the case. We were having fun that year, I promise. We were having a lot of fun out of the track. On the track, we were extremely competitive.

“We knew we were battling for our careers, for our Formula 1 pedigree on our first year, rookie season. I got on with him a lot better than what people think.”

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