Carlos Sainz Jr. says he is a “very happy man” and “had a big smile” on his face after crossing the finish line to claim sixth place at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Toro Rosso driver had a strong start and benefitted from the Mercedes drivers colliding to run as high as third, before falling behind the two Ferrari drivers and Valtteri Bottas’ Williams.
“What a fantastic race. We finally put a whole weekend together – we had a productive Friday, were fast in quali and had good pace in the race today – and I’m a very happy man,” he said.
“P6 is an amazing result for me and the team, and to achieve this at my home race makes it even better. The start to the race was great, I think I did one of the best race starts of my life to be honest, running in a podium position and battling with Ferrari, those first laps were really nice.
“I felt comfortable during the rest of the race, the team did a very good job with the pit-stops and I had a big smile on my face when I crossed the line in sixth position.”
He also sent his congratulations to his former team-mate Max Verstappen, who claimed his first F1 victory: “I’m very happy for him and the Red Bull family – I think it’s great that Red Bull brings young talent into Formula 1 and we keep succeeding, proving them right.”
His new team-mate Daniil Kvyat finished in 10th place: “It was a good race for us today. We had to give two positions back at the restart of the race, so we lost a bit of time there. But a part from that, the pace was strong and we were competitive.
“It’s positive to be back and to finish in the points straight away. The car felt good and it didn’t take me a lot of time to get used to it. It was a very productive day for the team, overtaking Haas in the Championship, so all in all, a positive weekend and we will continue fighting.”