After suffering a late loss of power whilst running in sixth place at the French Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz Jr. expressed his desire to put the disappointment behind him.
Sainz Jr. was left powerless to stop the advances of Kevin Magnussen and the resurgent Valtteri Bottas, demoting him to eighth at the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team‘s home race. Fortuitously for the Spaniard, he had built up enough of a buffer to stay ahead of team-mate Nico Hülkenberg and tenth placed Charles Leclerc to continue his six race-long points scoring streak.
Speaking after the race, Sainz Jr. admitted that the outcome “hurts” after a promising start to the weekend for Renault. He had managed to outqualify Hülkenberg for the third time this season and spent the opening stages of the race running in third, taking advantage of the first lap incident between Sebastian Vettel and Bottas.
“It hurts a little bit to end the race like that,” said Sainz Jr. “We were having such a good weekend from start to finish.
“We had a strong qualifying, made a clean start running in the top three early on, and then controlling sixth.”
The on-loan Red Bull driver estimated that the problem, caused by a failure of the MGU-K, cost him around three seconds a lap and believed that the Virtual Safety Car triggered by Lance Stroll‘s late puncture saved his points finish.
“The second-half of the race was fast-paced and we were managing it well until the sudden problem, which cost us two or three seconds a lap,” he added.
“I owe [Virtual Safety Car]… it saved us the points finish.”
Sainz Jr. said Renault “deserved to be the best of the rest”, but looks forward to redeeming the lost points next week at the Austrian Grand Prix.
“It’s a shame and I feel sorry for the whole team, as I think we deserved to be best of the rest today,” he mused.
“These things happen in racing, and it’s my first reliability issue of the year, so let’s move on and start preparing Austria.”