Sainz eager to return to scene of 'best-ever race'

© XPB 

Renault's Carlos Sainz has good reason to be looking forward to next week's race in Singapore.

It will be his 75th Grand Prix start - which is exactly half the number being marked by his team mate Nico Hulkenberg at the same race.

"It’s a cool coincidence that both myself and Nico celebrate milestones on the same weekend," Sainz acknowledged.

"75 races sounds like a lot, especially since I’m still quite young. It would be extra special if we can celebrate it with a double-points finish or match or better my result from last year!"

It was at the Marina Bay Street Circuit that the Spanish driver claimed his best-ever finish, crossing the line in fourth place at the end of the gruelling night race.

"It’s probably my best-ever race in my Formula 1 career," he said when asked about last year's race. "Everything clicked on the day.

"It was an incredible day, an amazing race and one which I’ll never forget. That said, every time I’m in the car, I’m gunning to better it."

There's clearly something about the circuit, or possibly the appeal of driving under the powerful floodlights after dark, that suits Sainz.

"Singapore is probably the toughest race on the calendar, both for the heat and humidity as well as the physical demands of the circuit itself.

"It gets so hot in the cockpit and we’re very busy with the frequent changes of direction and on-going gear shifts, he explained. "All while making sure not to hit the barriers.

"It’s a really big challenge come race day!

"It’s a long lap in terms of time, and very tight and twisty. There aren’t many straights to have a rest like in Baku, for example, so that makes it even trickier from a physical perspective.

"Singapore is a strange weekend in a way as we remain on European time," he added. "Waking up at 2pm every day and leaving the track at 3am is strange.

"But that’s what makes it a unique Grand Prix. We don’t see too much daylight there and there’s little time to explore."

It makes it a very different experience to the Italian Grand Prix, last weekend's race which marked the final leg of the European season.

"Overall I was very happy with the Italian weekend," said Sainz, who wants a strong finish to his time at Renault before departing for McLaren in 2019.

"We want to build on this now at a string of circuits which should suit our package well," he said. "I’m feeling positive and I want to convert that into a strong weekend in Singapore."

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