MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Renault Sport Formula One Team RS18 on track during practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2018 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Renault Sport Formula One Team has not been able to score points in the Monaco Grand Prix since their return to the pinnacle of motorsport in 2016. But Carlos Sainz believes the French squad is in a position to lead the battle in the middle of the pack this weekend.

Renault In Position To Dominate Midfield Battle, Says Carlos Sainz

The 23-year-old Spaniard expects the upgrades to the car to work well for him and his teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who already tested new components on the R.S.18‘s aerodynamics on Thursday.

Sainz is confident the upgrades will bring “a lot” to both cars. The Spanish driver was sixth and tenth in FP1 and FP2, respectively. His gap to the front was 1.3 seconds in both sessions, he rounded the street-circuit in 1:13.456 in FP1 and 1:13.200 ins his FP2 run, in which he had “traffic in the last sector”.

In his first nine races with Renault, Sainz has scored points in five, with a fifth place as his best result in this year’s Azerbaijan GP.

Solid in Monaco

At Monaco, unlike his team, he has scored points everytime he drove around the Principality, and he has improved on his outing every year. Sainz was tenth in 2015, eighth in 2016 and sixth in 2017, all three races as a driver for Scuderia Toro Rosso. Whilst he was performing very well, his teammates’ (Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat) best result was P14 for Kvyat last year.

Hot Streak

On the other hand, if Sainz scores on Sunday, he would have points-finishes in four straight races for the first time in his young career. And the Madrid-born racer relishes that opportunity. “The upgrades that Nico carried today on the car, it will be my turn to have them on Saturday if they arrive. So there are good things to come, I think”, he said.

“Today was positive. We were always inside the top ten, always leaving a bit of margin here and there to improve on each lap, and to be honest, it has been a positive day for the team. Both cars in the top ten again, Nico with the upgrade and it looks like it is working as we expected, so it’s good news from every side.

“In terms of where the others are… For example, McLaren maybe had problems in FP1 and they still might be a bit behind – and they have a lot of margin for improvement for Saturday. But from our side, I think we more or less hit the ground running and we are happy.

“I think the aim is to be the fourth best team in general, like it has always been. We need to take into account that today McLaren had a few issues in FP1 and they are running a bit behind in mileage, which on this track helps a lot. So they could improve a lot for Saturday but I am confident that we have also got a big margin for improvement on Saturday.”

Sainz is currently tenth in the World Drivers’ Championship with 19 points, tied with HaasKevin Magnussen and three points behind his German teammate.

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