Carlos Sainz Jr’s top five

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – MAY 28: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 on track during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 28, 2017 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

With the Spaniard moving on, we look back at five of his top drives for STR.

Scuderia Toro Rosso announced on Saturday they were releasing Carlos Sainz Jr after the Japanese Grand Prix.

Sainz will race for the Renault Sport Formula One team from the USA Grand Prix onwards with Daniil Kvyat partnering Pierre Gasly at STR.

Here, we look back at five of the Spaniard’s best drives since his debut for the team in 2015.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 15: Carlos Sainz of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso makes a pit stop during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 15, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

2015 Australian Grand Prix – ninth place

In Carlos Sainz Jr’s first grand prix, all the talk was about his teenage teammate Max Verstappen as many questioned the 17-year-old’s eligibility to be on the grid at such a young age. Engine trouble meant Verstappen did not even make the chequered flag while his Spanish teammate drove a mature race to make it into the points on debut in ninth place. Sainz admitted afterwards he had hoped for better having qualified in an impressive eighth place making thereby earning raised eyebrows for both Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers at the season start.

AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 25: Carlos Sainz of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso drives during the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 25, 2015 in Austin, United States. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

2015 US Grand Prix – seventh place

A crash at turn four meant Sainz did not set a qualifying time and had to get special dispensation to start the race from the back of the grid. But a flurry of incidents in front of him saw him surge up to 10th place by the end of lap one from 20th. He continued his climb up the order to finish in sixth place overall but a five-second post-race penalty – dished out for speeding in the pit lane – cost him a place to Jenson Button but still his best result of an opening season in the sport.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 13: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 Ferrari 060/5 turbo on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 13, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

2016 Brazilian GP – sixth

When the Scuderia Toro Rosso failed to get anywhere near to Q3 at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, his pace and position in 15th on the grid suggested a difficult 71-lap race lay ahead at Interlagos. But then the heavens opened up, causing a concertina effect on the field and Sainz was able to show what he was capable of. The Spaniard scythed through a litany of cars in front of him, thanks in part to a decision to keep him on the extreme tyres rather than an early switch to the intermediates. Afterwards, he said: “I love the rain, I’ve always been strong in the wet.”

Carlos Sainz performs during Red Bull Fit and Fly at Virgin Active in Milan, Italy, on August 30, 2017 –
Photographer Credit:
Olaf Pignataro/Red Bull Content Pool

2017 Monaco Grand Prix – sixth

Scuderia Toro Rosso had been two seconds off the pace at the preceding race in Spain but Sainz conjured up a magical lap in Monaco to park in sixth place after qualifying without any major new parts on the car. It was a position he maintained to the finish matching his previous best in the sport. All the more impressively, sixth place was achieved despite Lewis Hamilton breathing down his neck a place back in seventh for much of the latter part of the race. It was perhaps no surprise that Sainz later described it as “the perfect weekend”.

SINGAPORE – SEPTEMBER 17: Carlos Sainz of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Spain during the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 17, 2017 in Singapore. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

2017 Singapore Grand Prix – fourth

Just days after it was announced that Sainz’s time at Scuderia Toro Rosso was coming to an end with an impending switch to Renault, he pulled off the highest race finish of his career, just missing out on a podium spot in fourth place. Sainz was helped by a stunning start to a chaotic race in which he charged his way past Sergio Perez, Jolyon Palmer, Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Ocon. Forced to defend his position on super soft tyres while others chasing were on ultra soft tyres, Sainz understandably described it as the best race of his career. He added: “We finished fourth, which is incredible, unthinkable.”

SPIELBERG,AUSTRIA,06.JUL.17 – MOTORSPORTS, FORMULA 1 – Grand Prix of Austria, Red Bull Ring, press conference. Image shows Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP/ Scuderia Toro Rosso). Photo: GEPA pictures/ Daniel Goetzhaber

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