My 2018 was better than points tally suggests - Carlos Sainz Jr.

Carlos Sainz Jr. has asserted that his final points total is not reflective of the strong performances he put in during the 2018 Formula 1 season.

Sainz Jr. finished 10th in the championship on 53 points, three positions and 16 points adrift of Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who wound up as the lead midfielder.

But Sainz Jr. reckons his prospects of classifying higher were hamstrung by situations out of his control striking on weekends where he performed strongly.

Sainz Jr. was poised to head the midfield group in France, before an MGU-K failure dropped him from sixth to eighth, while a battery issue was deemed the culprit in Mexico, where a promising performance was prematurely halted.

“On a personal level it has been quite a challenging [year],” Sainz Jr. told a select group of journalists, including Motorsport Week.

“Especially because it took me a bit of time at the beginning to understand the car, to understand how to go as fast as I could with this car.

“Then as soon as I understood it for me it was a big confidence boost and the results started coming.

“Although, I’m not entirely happy [with] the amount of points I got in my good weekends.

“We all have those four, five, six weekends where you perform at the highest level that you know you extract the absolute maximum out of the car, but somehow either reliability reasons or strategy things didn’t allow me to extract [that].

“So the amount of points I get at the end of the season is not the amount that I think I deserve or the amount that I wish for.”

Sainz Jr. accepted that getting accustomed to a new environment with different techniques, after three years with Toro Rosso, was initially a challenge.

“It was very easy for me to go fast straight away, but to extract the last two-tenths was the challenging part,” he said.

“To be extremely fast, which is what you need to be to beat a guy like Nico [Hulkenberg], or to qualify P7 in every race, or to qualify in the top eight in every race…

“I had done a three-year period, which is a lot, on a car, on a team, with a certain driving style, with a certain approach, with a certain way of doing things, so to change from a three-year period to in a one-year period [trying to] extract the maximum out of our package… was tough. 

“But this is something that made me a better driver: to know how to react to that, to know what to ask from the team, to know what I needed as a driver, what I needed the team to give me to become faster.

“I take a bit of pride from that because it would have been easy to give up a bit early in the season but I kept pushing, kept trusting in my abilities and it did end up coming.”

Sainz Jr. will race for McLaren in 2019.