Renault season crucial for personal growth - Carlos Sainz Jr.

Carlos Sainz Jr. says his time with Renault enabled him to “get to know myself”, having only previously competed for Toro Rosso in Formula 1.

Sainz Jr. started 56 Grands Prix for Toro Rosso before joining Renault for the final few 2017 Grands Prix, remaining with the manufacturer for a full 2018 campaign.

Sainz Jr. scored points in 13 of the 21 Grands Prix – more than any of his midfield rivals – and secured a long-term McLaren deal from 2019.

The Spaniard believes stints at two different teams will prove invaluable when he makes the switch to the Woking-based operation for next season.

“Moving to Renault has been a great experience for me and going to a team like McLaren with similar resources is going to help me,” Sainz Jr. said when asked by Motorsport Week about his 2019 approach.

“This year of experience [of] also getting to know myself… because I only knew the Carlos of Toro Rosso, what he liked in a Toro Rosso.

“Going to another team [showed me] what I needed as a driver, the good things of the Toro Rosso [version to] try and apply them in the Renault, keep the good things from Renault and try to nurse them together into the Toro Rosso ones.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on that you can do as a driver, and the amount of learning that I’ve done this year is something that I’m really taking into McLaren."

Sainz Jr. added: “I’m interested in seeing how the Carlos of next year [acts], having his first two-year contract, being fully part of a team.

“I’m not saying at Renault I didn’t behave like that. I’m interested to see how the Carlos of next year goes into the first race.”

Sainz Jr. believes both he and Renault should be proud of the manner in which the parties helped each other to make gains through 2018.

“They’ve helped me in that way, every time I was asking for something, they were writing it down and see if they could do something about it,” he said.

“As a driver it’s a privilege to see that a team really wants you to feel comfortable here and to bring the best they can to you.

“We’ve evolved as a team, they’ve helped me to evolve, and I’ve helped them to evolve.

“So it’s been a whole co-ordinated process that I think we both should be proud of.”

A wide-ranging interview with Carlos Sainz Jr. will be published in the upcoming bumper edition of Motorsport Monday.