Jolyon Palmer’s replacement at Renault had a dream start to his Formula One career as he clinched seventh place in the United States Grand Prix on Sunday.
Palmer was unceremoniously given the boot from the team at the start of the month after the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Southwater driver, who has had a difficult season alongside Nico Hulkenberg, was replaced by Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who had already been signed for the team for 2018.
It was decided that Sainz would take up the seat early and finish the season, despite Palmer originally being adamant that he would see out his contract at Renault this year.
Sainz started and finished seventh in Texas and was pushing hard to equal the team’s season-best finishing position of sixth.
Team-mate Hülkenberg wasn’t so fortunate as, despite making a strong start, he was forced to retire when his car experienced an oil pressure drop early in the race.
Sainz said: “It was a great debut for me with Renault and I really enjoyed myself out there. Right from the beginning, every lap I was feeling more confident with the car, so I was able to push harder.
“I was able to attack the Force Indias, which have been out of reach for the team for the past few races, so to overtake one and attack another was a great result. Everything has gone very smoothly the whole weekend.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault managing director said: “Carlos made a fanfare debut with an error-free weekend. He arrived extremely motivated and well prepared in a team that was equally ready.
“We’ve done a remarkable job together since the announcement of his arrival at the Japanese Grand Prix. He drove an aggressive but intelligent race.”