Sainz exceeds all expectations on Renault F1 debut, finishes P7

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Carlos Sainz Jr. said his charge to P7 in his first Formula 1 outing for Renault “exceeded all expectations” as he enjoyed a near-perfect weekend at the United States Grand Prix.

Sainz joined Renault in Austin four races earlier than planned after the team was able to reach an agreement to part company with Jolyon Palmer following the last race in Japan.

Sainz charged to seventh place on the grid in qualifying, inflicting teammate Nico Hulkenberg’s first Saturday loss of the season, and was able to retain position through the race, highlighted by a stunning pass on Sergio Perez.

Despite a late battle with Esteban Ocon for sixth, Sainz was forced to settle for P7 at the checkered flag, but was nevertheless delighted with his first outing for Renault.

“It felt great, to see how everything felt, to build up on it, I had more and more confidence, passing one of the Force Indias in Turn 19, then had Ocon,” Sainz told NBCSN after the race.

“We were running out of fuel at the end so I had to hold back and save it.

“Everything exceeded my expectations. I had confidence in myself that I could adapt to the team quickly.

“To do such a good quali and such a good race, complete race, as my engineers said, I really need to thank them all.”

Sainz’s points haul saw Renault move above Haas to seventh in the constructors’ championship, with the team now just five points shy of Toro Rosso in P6 with three races remaining this season.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”