Carlos Sainz Jr has described his debut weekend for Renault as "very close to perfect" after finishing seventh at the United States Grand Prix.

Sainz inherited the drive at Renault from Jolyon Palmer, who ousted following the Japanese Grand Prix, after it was announced the Spanish driver would move from Toro Rosso to the team next year. A seventh-place finish at the Circuit of the Americas nearly equals Palmer's only points scoring race this season, with the British driver coming sixth in Singapore.

Sainz thanked the team for welcoming him and said he felt instantly comfortable with the car.

Related Articles

"So far, we've done our first weekend very close to perfect,” Sainz said. “We need to continue like that. Thanks to all of them for making me feel so at home right from the beginning and giving me a competitive car."

Sainz was faster than team-mate Hulkenberg in both Friday practice sessions and within a tenth of the German in FP3. He qualified eighth but was bumped up to seventh on the grid following penalties for former Toro Rosso tea-mate Max Verstappen, while Hulkenberg started from the back due to a grid penalty.

Sainz feels there is still plenty of areas to improve after his opening race weekend with the French manufacturer but is pleased with the foundations laid by his result in Austin.

"I think we have still a big margin of improvement, all of us, but it will come with more races and more experience,” he said. “It's very difficult to have gone any better than it has been. We put together a really, really strong weekend right from FP1 to the last lap of the race.

"Even in the race we went from less to more, we were picking up pace, attacking first Checo and then Esteban. A shame I ran out of fuel in the last three or four laps and I couldn't attack Esteban, but really fun."

Sainz is committed to drive for Renault for the rest of this season and in 2018, making him the only one of four Toro Rosso drivers this year to have a contracted future currently.