Carlos Sainz Jr's Formula Renault 3.5 championship advantage was reduced last weekend in Hungary as he continued a three race streak without a podium finish.

The Spaniard's fourth and sixth place finishes at the Hungaroring allowed his title rival Roberto Merhi to reduce the deficit to just sixteen points.

"Despite choosing an aggressive strategy with the team, I wasn't able to regain lost time and return to the front," he said reflecting on his mixed weekend. "The overall result is mediocre, but I won't give anything away, especially in France in a fortnight," he continues. Paul Ricard will host the penultimate round at the end of this month.

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The Red Bull Junior's consistency early in the season had built him a substantial lead over the rest of the field. However, his form dropped midseason and the 19-year-old's last set of back-to-back victories came at the third round in Belguim. On Saturday, the DAMS racer settled for an out-of-position fourteenth grid slot.

"Personally, everything looked promising after free practice, but my flying lap during Saturday's qualifying session was ruined by the red flag," he explains from a packed Hungaroing. "My race that afternoon was good, although encountering more problems on Sunday was unfortunate".

"I missed my first lap, the anti-stall system hampered my getaway, causing me to lose ground".

Race two was won by his team mate Norman Nato whose last victory came at the F1 support race in Monaco. As a result, DAMS Racing extend their constructors' lead as they look for a second title.

Sainz Jr's F1 hopes were dealt a serious blow last month when Toro Rosso confirmed Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen for their 2015 campaign.