Renault Sport Formula 1 Team driver Carlos Sainz Jr. believes he would definitely have finished in the points at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, had it not been for the loose wheel issue at his pit stop.
The Spaniard had been progressing through the field nicely, sat close in behind McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso and Williams Martini Racing driver Felipe Massa, who were in eighth and ninth place, and ready to pounce when an opportunity presented itself.
Unfortunately, when Sainz Jr. pitted for his only stop, the crew failed to secure the left front wheel in place, and as he exited the pits under the tunnel, the wheel came loose forcing him to stop and retire from the race, once he emerged on track.
It was a bitter blow for the Spaniard who felt he deserved more from the race.
“We were having a good race and I had made some real progress and was looking forward to the second part of the race and racing to get in the top ten.
“The pace was good and it’s such a shame we had that issue with the wheel and I had to stop, but these things happen.”
Despite not finishing the grand prix, Sainz Jr. believes there are many positives for him to take into the winter break.
For starters, Renault managed to secure sixth place in the constructor’s standings, thanks to team-mate Nico Hulkenberg’s sixth place result, and it has also been a solid start to life with the French squad for the Spaniard, having moved to Renault from Scuderia Toro Rosso for the final four races of the season, ahead of joining the French team in 2018.
“I think we deserved to have both cars in the points, but let’s stay with the positives. Nico got the job done for the team and we got the points we needed to finish sixth.
“Overall it’s been a good season and a really great start for me with Renault.”