Renault debutant Sainz Jr. targets top six
22 October 2017 – Carlos Sainz Jr. believes he can capture a strong points haul on his Renault debut at the United States Grand Prix, after qualifying firmly inside the top 10.
Sainz Jr. has moved across from Toro Rosso to Renault for the remaining four rounds of the campaign, ahead of his full-time 2018 seat, on loan from Red Bull.
He made it through to Q3 on his first outing in the R.S.17 at the Circuit of the Americas and set the eighth-best time, and will start from seventh due to Max Verstappen's grid penalty.
"There's been a lot to adapt to over this weekend but I'm incredibly proud of what we've been able to achieve," he said.
"It wasn't the easiest session with the changes in temperature and with the wind as I didn't know how the car would react to this, but we did a good job so I'm very happy.
"Coming to a new team late in the season was always going to be a challenge, but everyone at the team and back in the factory has made things very easy for me.
"I'm looking for a clean race. There's more speed in the car and in me as I adapt further, so to finish in the top 10 higher than where I start is the target."
Nico Hülkenberg, meanwhile, did not run in Q2, giving him options on his strategy, with the German due to start 18th on account of engine-related penalties.
"We opted to have flexibility on strategy as we can choose our starting tyres, and this also saves car and engine mileage through not running to the end of the session," he said.
"The car felt competitive, as we saw by my being in the top 10 with a single Q1 run.
"It's a track where you can overtake, so the race has interesting possibilities."