Carlos Sainz has full faith Toro Rosso can step up to become a top five team in the Formula 1 constructors' championship after its impressive showing in the United States Grand Prix.
The Spanish driver had been forced to start from the very back of the grid in Austin after suffering an unfortunate crash during qualifying in the slippery conditions, but blasted through the field during the opening laps to rise back into the top ten.
As the track began to dry Sainz gambled slightly too early switching to dry tyres which pushed him back through the pack but the Spanish rookie gallantly fought off Jenson Button for sixth at the chequered flag.
However, a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane dropped him behind the McLaren driver in the final classification but Sainz left Austin in a buoyant mood.
“I knew it was going to a chaotic race and anything could happen so we did a very good first lap and quickly in the points, up to tenth in two or three laps, but then the problems started appearing,” Sainz said. “We had a pit stop which we lost 10 or 15 seconds in and then we made the mistake to put the prime tyre on when it was clearly not the tyre of the race. Then we had another pit stop and the pit limiter didn't work when I left the pits. The brakes we also had to save because I was running out of them.
“So many things that even with that and to arrive P6 but with a penalty back to P7 it was a great achievement by all of us.”
Sainz also felt if he had avoided some of the costly pitstops and the time penalty he could have finished much higher and been in range of his team-mate Max Verstappen who claimed fourth place.
“It was good fun because at the end it was about throwing the car in and closing the eyes and it worked,” he said. “With everything to finish P6 is good but I feel a lot more could have been achieved today if we hadn't lost all those seconds during the race. To finish P6 and have the best race of the season despite starting last shows that we are on the right path.”
The former Formula Renault 3.5 champion is confident if Toro Rosso can rub out some mistakes it has the drivers and the package to challenge for the top five in the teams' standings against the likes of Force India and Lotus.
“It is a fantastic day for us and congratulations to Max on picking up important points for the team which we needed. Now we need to assess the small issues that we are having and if we solve them we can become a top five team in the championship because we definitely have the car, the people and the drivers. When we put it all together I believe we will be top five.”
With three rounds remaining starting this weekend in Mexico, Toro Rosso sits seventh in the manufacturers' championship, seven points off of Lotus and 39 behind Force India in fifth.