Carlos Sainz waved farewell to Renault in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, and he did so in emphatic fashion, delivering his second-best result of the season. And the Spaniard, who will replace boyhood hero Fernando Alonso at McLaren next season, feels that his sixth-place finish is payback for some bad luck this season…
Sainz was set for a brilliant sixth at the French Grand Prix before suffering a power problem with three laps to go, ultimately coming home in eighth, while he was en route to P7 in Mexico until technical gremlins struck and he was forced to retire from the race.
And after battling to a P6 in the season-ending showdown at Yas Marina - a result which, somewhat ironically, lifted him above Alonso into tenth place in the drivers' standings - the Spaniard highlighted those two races as reason to particularly enjoy Sunday’s result.
“It was a really great result for us and this sixth place feels a bit like payback for France and Mexico," said Sainz. “We deserve it!
“I had a very strong pace all the way and it was a perfectly executed race. We achieved fourth in the Constructors’ Championship and it is a very big result for us.
“This last race of the season firmly demonstrates all the progress made this year. I leave this team feeling very happy with what we’ve achieved and as a driver it makes me especially motivated.
“This was my last race with the Renault team and I thank everyone for the last year and a half. I’m not leaving the family and look forward to continue to see many of my Renault colleagues as I join McLaren.”