Carlos Sainz Jr. has expressed his frustration at a hugely disappointing Mexican Grand Prix for the Renault Sport Formula One Team.
Courtesy of the first lap drama involving front-runners Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton – that caused damage for the latter two – both Sainz Jr. and team-mate Nico Hülkenberg briefly ran in the top four, but the duo succumbed to car problems in the midway stages of the race.
Sainz Jr. spun in the opening laps due to “a strange feeling”, flat-spotting his tyres and enforcing an early pit stop, which demoted him to 19th, only ahead of the wounded Hamilton.
“It was a difficult day for the team.” said a deflated Sainz Jr.
“We had a very good start, but in the first two laps I wasn’t very comfortable and had a strange feeling with the car.”
“I had a high-speed spin and flat-spotted my tyres and had to box early.”
Unable to make progress through the field, Sainz Jr. eventually retired on lap 62 with steering trouble, reporting over the radio that his car was pulling to one side on the straights.
“From then on, although our pace was ok, I was at the back and couldn’t do much to re-join the cars in the points. In the end, my retirement was due to a mechanical issue with the steering.”
However, the Spaniard can take heart from his second weekend with the Renault team – he started in the the top eight alongside Hülkenberg. The last time a works Renault team managed that feat was at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix with Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov.