Carlos Sainz believes his early contract extension at Toro Rosso was a result of Red Bull wanting to silence rumours about his future amid interest from other teams.
After Max Verstappen was promoted to Red Bull ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, Sainz has been in fine form and has picked up 26 points in the eight races since then. His improvement saw Sainz linked to both Ferrari and Renault, and the Spaniard told F1i he feels Red Bull wanted to put an end to the reports.
"There were obviously many rumours going on at that time," Sainz said. "As I started to show my true performance some rumours came alive which were silenced very quickly by Red Bull by signing a contract.
"I felt very privileged when Red Bull executed the option on me so early in the season, I think I was probably one of the first drivers to be signed so early by such a tough team as Toro Rosso so this shows things were done really well during this period of time."
And Sainz insists proving Red Bull wrong for opting to promote Verstappen is not the driving force for him at this stage of his career.
"No I don’t think it’s my motivation. My main motivation has to be within the Toro Rosso team to extract the maximum potential of the car. Make sure every weekend I am the driver that is extracting the maximum out of the package I have.
"Recently I think that has been the case and that is why I am so happy but my intention is never to prove to Red Bull: ‘You got it wrong with Max, it’s me coming’. My intention is to be able one day whenever they have a chance again of promoting someone to make sure it’s me. That is my main target at the moment."