Setbacks hiding Carlos Sainz Jr's growth in 'weird' 2018 F1 season

Renault driver Carlos Sainz Jr believes his 2018 Formula 1 campaign has been "weird", with results not matching the progress he thinks he has made

Setbacks hiding Carlos Sainz Jr's growth in 'weird' 2018 F1 season

Sainz has had a solid opening half to the 2018 season, scoring in eight of the 12 grands prix so far and sitting 11th in the standings on 30 points.

He was hit by late engine trouble at Paul Ricard, collided with Romain Grosjean at Silverstone and picked up a 10-second penalty for passing under the safety car at Hockenheim, and trails seventh-placed team-mate Nico Hulkenberg by 22 points in the championship.

Hulkenberg is being retained by Renault next season alongside the incoming Daniel Ricciardo, with Sainz leaving the team after one full year and likely to either replace Ricciardo or seek refuge outside of the Red Bull pool - possibly at McLaren.

"It's been weird, because I was achieving a lot of points at the beginning of the year without being 100% comfortable with the car, and working very hard to get it a bit back [to where I was comfortable]," said Sainz, before F1's summer break started.

"I think Barcelona was a good turning point, where I was able to get that stability, that confidence with the car.

"And since then, a lot of things have happened to me on race day and the points suddenly are not coming, even if I'm pretty confident with the car.

"Paul Ricard was a good example, where we have an engine issue and issues towards the end.

"We did a perfect weekend, then a good qualifying in Austria, and in Hockenheim with the old front wing, and running in the points always.

"But situations on Sundays have made me miss on quite a lot of points, and sometimes a championship doesn't reflect the whole picture of the year."

Tyre wear has been an issue for Renault this season, with Sainz conceding a tough Austrian GP was a "wake-up call" and a "turning point" in how the team understands tyre management.

Sainz says Renault has now changed its approach to races, but is adamant the team knows what is causing the issue.

"Since then we've been a lot more cautious and a lot more realistic that we do have a problem with tyre wear come Sunday, or come Friday and we make it better for Sunday," said Sainz.

"So we are working very hard on it, and some races will be better, some races will be worse. But at least we know why we have the issue, and how to approach it.

"Still I think we need to manage more than our direct competitors, but I think we at least have the understanding and the knowledge of it."

shares
comments
McLaren: Vandoorne must beat Alonso as 2019 F1 seat decision looms

Previous article

McLaren: Vandoorne must beat Alonso as 2019 F1 seat decision looms

Next article

How to run a Formula 1 team

How to run a Formula 1 team
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr.
Author Scott Mitchell
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021