Racing in front of his home crowd, Carlos Sainz flew the Spanish flag on his slow-down lap at the Circuit de Catalunya following a superb performance which saw the Toro Rosso driver collect a well-deserved sixth place finish.

Sainz enjoyed an impressive start when the lights went green, running as high as third before settling into a steady groove which hardly ever saw him race lower than sixth.

The Spaniard could not quite keep up with fifth place man Valtteri Bottas’ Williams, but never looked in danger of relinquishing his position Sergio Perez’s Force India and Felipe Massa, and completely eclipsing new team mate Daniil Kvyat.

For Sainz, his solid home race was simply a result of putting his entire race weekend together for the first time this season.

“It was a fantastic weekend in general I would say,” explained the Toro Rosso driver.

“From the start of practice we showed a really strong pace and we managed to confirm it in the race, and this is exactly what we should have done in all the previous races.

“It was just a matter of time before we managed to put a whole weekend together. I did it in front of my home crowd and I’m really happy for that.”

Sainz’ only worry on Sunday was a minor investigation initiated by the Stewards when the Spaniard left the pitlane during the pre-race reconnaissance laps, when the red light was displayed at the exit.

But the Toro Rosso driver was handed a simple reprimand.

Obviously, Carlos Sainz spared a thought for his former team mate Max Verstappen and the Red Bull driver’s joy in achieving his first Grand Prix win.

While still a junior bull for now, Sainz has no doubts the time will come when he will once again be battling the Dutchman for position.

“I congratulate him, I think it’s great for the Red Bull family to show that they keep bringing in young talent. And we keep on proving them right.

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“From my side, I just hope I can one day battle with him for those wins, as we did for P8s and Q3s because I think I’m capable of it, and hopefully it will come soon.”

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