Helmut Marko has said the rise of Max Verstappen has ensured there are no regrets over letting Carlos Sainz leave the Red Bull family.

Both Verstappen and Sainz came up through the ranks with Red Bull and were team-mates together at the junior team then known as Toro Rosso in 2015 but, while Verstappen was soon fast-tracked to the senior set-up, Sainz had to be very patient for his own breakthrough.

The Spaniard spent three seasons with Toro Rosso before joining Renault in 2017 on what was effectively loan deal from Red Bull. Then, Sainz would break free of the Red Bull shackles completely when completing a move to McLaren ahead of the 2019 season.

It was at McLaren where we saw Sainz truly begin to flourish, so much so that he was identified as the driver to replace the outgoing Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari where he has since made an excellent first impression with the Scuderia.

While Sainz has prospered and Red Bull have struggled to find someone to partner Verstappen in the second Red Bull seat, you may suspect there will be a tinge of regret from Red Bull in not placing their trust in Sainz.

However, Marko says it is a decision they can live with due to the success they have had with Verstappen.

Vamos @ScuderiaFerrari
–#Carlossainz #essereFerrari pic.twitter.com/PTcSiL45kX

— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) May 25, 2021

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“At the time we were very strong, but in Max we saw the very strongest driver,” Marko told Formel1.de.

“That’s why we chose Verstappen at the time and I think the results Verstappen has shown since then more than justify that decision.

“We didn’t send Sainz away and for good reason, we were very early to contract him.

“Verstappen and Sainz were very evenly matched, but we didn’t have the possibility to offer him more [than a spot at Toro Rosso].

“He was not convinced of the future prospects at Toro Rosso. His feeling was he was not progressing and he did not want to wait any longer. We first loaned him out and then we cancelled the contract completely.

“After all, we didn’t want to stand in the way of his future.”

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