With tenth place in Abu Dhabi Carlos Sainz put together his best season in Formula 1 since he began with the colours of Toro Rosso in 2015, racing the final four rounds with Renault’s colours and staying for next season.
With 96 points to his credit, the podium finish in Brazil in the penultimate round of the world championship and finishing in the points 13 times, McLaren’s Spanish driver took sixth place on the drivers’ ladder behind Sebastian Vettel and in front of Pierre Gasly who for more than half the season had his hands on the Red Bull before handing the steering wheel to Albon, starting from Spa-Francorchamps, and “giving” Toro Rosso second place in Interlagos.
This was great progress by the 26 year old from Madrid who, together with the 20 year old debutant Lando Norris, took McLaren-Renault to fourth place on the constructor’s ladder, just behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull and taking fifth place in the grands prix in Germany, Hungary and Japan as the best results before the incredible third place in Interlagos and the sixth place in Monaco, France, Great Britain and Russia.
“We didn’t only just discover Sainz Jr’s technical worth. He is a driver I have always like and the sixth spot on the drivers’ ladder is the confirmation. We are talking about a very fast, correct and modest driver. He is a top driver and will be in the centre of the drivers’ market next season if McLaren does not hurry up and renew him,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi.
“2020 will be a crucial year for the drivers’ market since of the top drivers on Leclerc already had a contract signed beyond that date,” continued the manager from Faenza, “We have seen a good championship that gave us a number of interesting pints for the future with the fiery duel between Verstappen and Leclerc. I like Norris a lot and in his debut season he contributed to McLaren’s rebirth with eleven positive results, as did Albon and Gasly who with the second place in Brazil gave a very strong sign.”
In the nine rounds raced with Red Bull the Anglo-Thai rookie “paid” a gap of only eleven points from the Dutchman who won the Brazil Grand Prix with a fourth place to his credit, four fifth places, three sixth places and only one finish outside the points, at Interlagos.