Sainz helps seal fourth for Renault in team standings

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Renault Sport F1 Team RS18 passes the team at the end of the race.
© XPB 

The Renault F1 works team has clinched the 'best of the rest' B-team title with fourth place in the constructors championship behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

Renault went into the final race of the season Abu Dhabi with a strong points lead over rivals Haas, but couldn't be fully assured of holding on to their position until the dust settled in the desert.

The team got a sharp reminder of how things could still go badly wrong when Nico Hulkenberg was flipped over on the first lap - ironically by Haas driver Romain Grosjean.

That put a lot of responsibility on Renault's remaining driver Carlos Sainz, who was making his last outing for the team before his move to McLaren next season.

Fortunately the Spanish driver was up to the job and duly delivered sixth place in the race, which was more than enough to confirm Renault's status in the team standings.

"Today was a really great result for us," said Sainz, who suffered an electrical failure in Mexico and finished outside the points in a disappointing 12th place in Brazil. Losing out on sixth in the French Grand Prix due to a MGU-K failure also clearly still rankled.

"This sixth place feels a bit like pay back for France and Mexico," he said. "We deserve it! I had a very strong pace all the way and it was a perfectly executed race.

"This last race of the season firmly demonstrates all the progress made this year," he added. "We achieved fourth in the constructors’ championship and it is a very big result for us."

Sainz was pleased to finish his brief tenure at Enstone on a high. While he's looking forward to the next phase of his his career in Formula 1, the 24-year-old was also emotional to be moving on.

"I leave this team feeling very happy with what we’ve achieved and as a driver it makes me especially motivated," he said. This was my last race with the Renault team and I thank everyone for the last year and a half.

"I’m not leaving the family and look forward to continue to see many of my Renault colleagues as I join McLaren.”

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Renault Sport F1 Team RS18 makes a pit stop.

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul praised Sainz for the contribution he had made to the team over the course of 2018.

"I’d like to thank Carlos for all he has done for the team since joining us," he said. "He’s been a massive team player and wish him all the best as he joins our partner McLaren next year.

"P4 is where we wanted to be in the championship. It’s a good result and a representation of the fantastic team effort on and off track and from both drivers.

"We had a disappointing qualifying and difficult first laps," he said. "Obviously it was a shame to lose Nico early on, but he’s been a huge contributing element to the season result that we secured today.

"The team kept its head down and made excellent strategic choices in a race that went in our direction. We were able to take advantage of very strong race pace and managed the lead we had against the others to make sure we got to the end without any [further] incidents.

“It’s a great way to finish the season," Abiteboul concluded.

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