Photo: Renault Sport F1 Team

2017 F1 Driver Review: Carlos Sainz Jr.

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Motorsports Tribune reviews the top 10 from the 2017 Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship. Our list moves on to ninth-place finisher in the standings, Carlos Sainz Jr.

Carlos Sainz Jr., No. 55 Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16) / Renault Sport Formula 1 Team (17-20)

  • 2017: 9th in the championship, 54 points
  • Wins: 0, Podiums: 0, Top 5: 1, Top 10: 10, Poles: 0, Laps Led: 0, Fastest Laps: 0
  • Best Finish: 4th (Singapore)

Carlos Sainz Jr. had one of the more eventful years in Formula 1 in 2017. The 23-year-old Spaniard has the rare company of driving for two separate teams in the same season, while also managing to score points for both – Scuderia Toro Rosso and Renault.

The opening 16 races spent with Scuderia Toro Rosso showcased some stout performances, while also showcasing he was by far and away much quicker than teammate Daniil Kvyat. In fact, by season’s end despite not racing the final four grand prix for the Italian-based outfit, Sainz still amassed 48 of the team’s total of 53 points.

No outing showcased Sainz’s ability better than the Singapore Grand Prix. After starting 10th on the grid, the former Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion dodged a melee at the start in wet conditions to collect a career-best result of fourth – the best finish for Scuderia Toro Rosso since former teammate Max Verstappen in the 2015 United States Grand Prix.

The stellar performance was followed by two retirements in Malaysia and Japan before Sainz was called upon for a drive with Renault for the final four races on the year.

His debut with the French-based squad at the United States Grand Prix was nothing less than superb. With a flurry of brave but calculated passes, Sainz drove to an impressive seventh-place finish, outscoring new teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who saw his day end with a retirement.

Unfortunately, the next three races would be a different story as two retirements sandwiched an undesired result outside the points in 11th in Brazil. However, Sainz’s effort at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, combined with Hulkenberg scoring points in the final two rounds were enough to secure sixth for Renault in the constructors’ championship standings – ironically beating out Scuderia Toro Rosso, who finished seventh.

Overall, Red Bull still has an option on Sainz in the event that one of their seats becomes available. Many believe that if that were to happen, it would be to replace Daniel Ricciardo, which would, oddly, team Sainz once again with Verstappen.

In the meantime, Renault’s growth promises to showcase the best Sainz we have seen yet in 2018.

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Joey Barnes is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, IndyCar.com and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.