A seventh-place finish in Austin gave Carlos Sainz a dream start to life at Renault. And the flying Spaniard is looking forward to getting back out in the R.S.17 this weekend in Mexico.
How is the circuit to drive?
It’s one of my favourite race weekends and a lot of us drivers really enjoy it. We really feel the heat of the crowd there; it’s very special and feels different to any other race. The track is not easy to drive as the effective downforce is pretty low, which makes the car feel quite light. There are long straights – so high speeds - then twisty corners which are challenging to get right. My qualifying there hasn’t been too bad, I made Q3 last season.
What do you make of the Mexican atmosphere?
You get a good feeling for the atmosphere on the track parade, especially when you say hi to more than 200,000 people, which is pretty special. You really see the passion of the fans and their love for Formula 1; it’s really cool and a great race on the calendar. As a driver, we love seeing this passion and you know it will be special weekend. The stadium is really cool, but even away from that section the grandstands are always packed!
Are you a fan of the Mexican culture?
Trying the Mexican cuisine is a must, even though I’m not a fan of spicy food. I usually go for the quesadillas which aren’t too spicy and are very tasty. It’s strange that my friends nickname me Chilli, even though I don’t like spicy food, that doesn’t work very well! Mexico City is extremely busy so you need a good chauffer who knows some tricks on how to get to places quickly.
What are your thoughts on your debut with the team?
It felt great, I took it easy at the start to ease in and I was getting more and more confident as the weekend progressed. We really had good fun, especially in the race. I made a cautious start, but we just started to pick up pace and attacked the Force Indias. I was chasing Esteban [Ocon] which was a good battle whilst it lasted. I enjoyed it a lot and the whole weekend was great. To bring home six points is really good and it was a complete race weekend from first practice until the last lap of the race. The team did a brilliant job of easing me into things – our first weekend was close to perfect and we need to keep going like that.