At the first time of asking with his new team, Carlos Sainz Jr. made it through to the top-ten shootout, with the Spaniard claiming an excellent eighth on the grid for the United States Grand Prix.
Having made the switch from Scuderia Toro Rosso to the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team for the final four races ahead of his full-time move to the Enstone-based team in 2018, Sainz was delighted to break into the top ten on Saturday, and will start seventh once Max Verstappen takes his grid penalty.
Sainz admitted that joining a new team so late in the season was always going to be a challenge, but he said that Renault has made him feel very welcome, and he hopes to reward them by scoring points for them on Sunday.
“There’s been a lot to adapt to over this weekend but I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to achieve; it’s not a bad effort for our first qualifying together!” said Sainz.
“It wasn’t the easiest session with the changes in temperature and with the wind as I didn’t know how the car would react to this, but we did a good job so I’m very happy.
“Coming to a new team late in the season was always going to be a challenge, but everyone at the team and back in the factory has made things very easy for me.
“I’m looking for a clean race tomorrow. There’s more speed in the car and in me as I adapt further, so to finish in the top ten higher than where I start is the target.”