Carlos Sainz says he hopes his career-best run to the top six in the Spanish Grand Prix will mark a breakthrough for him in his attempts to firm his position at Toro Rosso in the wake of Red Bull's driver shuffle.
Though somewhat overshadowed by the performance of his erstwhile team-mate Max Verstappen, who clinched a sensational Spanish Grand Prix win on his Red Bull Racing debut in Barcelona, Sainz also scored his best result in F1 yet with a strong sixth place finish.
Coming on the weekend he was joined in the team by two-time podium winner Daniil Kvyat, Sainz is confident the eye-catching performance on home soil marks an upturn in fortunes for both himself and the team, which is now classified fifth in the standings.
“In the 15-16 races remaining, lots of things aren't going to happen to us – we're going to have DNFs, crashes, that sort of thing – but hopefully less of them than happened to me up to Barcelona!
“Hopefully, Barcelona can be a bit of a breakthrough and we can keep bringing home points for the team because we are P5 in the championship and very happy about that.”
Despite this, Sainz says he does not view the change of driver line-ups as a way of assuring himself as a team leader compared with Kvyat, saying the more experienced Russian's arrival should spur Toro Rosso's development.
“There is no leader in the team at the moment. I think if anything the experience of Kvyat, who is a lot more experienced than me and has a year in a top team, would make him the leader but, honestly, I feel very comfortable in this team now and, with Dany next to me, we are pushing the car and the development, and hopefully it will show in the results.”