Despite finishing seventh at the United States Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz Jr. told of his confusion over a five second time penalty earned in a dramatic first lap that threatened to jeopardise his potential for points.
Sainz Jr.’s seventh place, partnered with team-mate Nico Hülkenberg‘s sixth, saw the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team take their biggest haul of points to date in their third stint as a works team.
The Spaniard received a time penalty, served at his pitstop, for leaving the track and gaining an advantage at the first corner on lap one. Sainz Jr. admitted that he did run wide, but insisted that he rejoined the track in an orderly manner and allowed Esteban Ocon back through before re-passing him at Turn 6.
“In general I’m happy with how we finished the weekend,” said Sainz Jr. “It was a very good result for the team, which is exactly what was needed.
“To finish sixth and seventh here gives us strong points so congratulations for a fantastic team effort.”
“On my side, I did a great start and arrived in the first corner ahead of the three cars previously in front. I did run wide behind the Ferrari [of Sebastian Vettel] but re-joined the track safely, letting Esteban by.
“I then overtook him cleanly round the outside in turn six, so I still can’t understand the penalty.”
After maintaining his place in the top ten, Sainz Jr. said that fuel and tyre management was the necessity. Both Ocon and Kevin Magnussen saw their respective eighth and ninth place finishes taken way – Ocon for exceeding fuel flow limits on the first lap and Magnussen for using more than the 105kg of fuel allowed.
The McLaren F1 Team-bound Spaniard praised Renault’s efforts once again, the final results at the Circuit of the Americas seeing the French marque move 22 points clear of rivals for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, the Haas F1 Team.
“After that, it was all about tyre management and fuel saving,” Sainz Jr. added.
“I’m happy for the seventh position and happy to see the great efforts from the whole team paid off today.”