Carlos Sainz content with a strong 2018 F1 season but feels 'strange' still
Carlos Sainz felt stronger individually and in the team with Renault in what he termed was a 'strange' 2018 F1 season in overall terms.
After spending four races with Renault at the fag end of the 2017 F1 season, Sainz was fully prepared for 2018 with the French manufacturer alongside Nico Hulkenberg. But it was a year of ups and downs - more because of the characteristics of the car.
Both on the power and chassis side, Renault weren't 100 percent tuned for all the circuits as they had their share of highs and lows as a team on different tracks. Personally though, Sainz says he felt a lot stronger as a driver, scoring in 13 of the 21 races.
In the end, he finished 10th in the drivers' standings which he got it in the last race in Abu Dhabi, displacing his idol and countryman Fernando Alonso. It wasn't his best F1 season as he finished ninth in 2017 but as an individual, he thought he did better in the year.
"It has been a bit of a strange season," started Sainz, when asked by me/FormulaRapida.net to assess 2018 and against Hulkenberg. "We have been both leading the midfield quite a lot but also there has been a lot of races that we have been both kind of nowhere.
"It was depending a lot on the performance of the car [on the whole]. I have missed a lot of points unfortunately due to reliability reasons [whether qualifying or the race] when I was leading the midfield - races like Paul Ricard or Mexico.
"But in general, I made a lot of progress after the first four races and from Barcelona and Monaco onward, I felt a lot stronger in the team and with myself." While talking about his move to Renault from Toro Rosso, he felt it was a 'whole new world'.
From the outside as well, the difference is clear since Renault is a manufacturer team while Toro Rosso is a privateer. Even though the work is pretty much the same, the way it is executed is largely different which includes driver performance.
"It was a whole new world when I changed from Toro Rosso to Renault," he said to the media including FormulaRapida.net. "When I arrived here [Renault] last year, I had four races to get going with what I had.
"To be honest I was quite pleased with how fast I adapted and how quickly I was on the pace straightaway. I had to find the last two tenths in qualifying where you need to understand all those settings and little details that make you go two tenths faster."
[Note: This story was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net]