Carlos Sainz believes his early move to Renault has not only set a strong foundation for 2018 but also for his long-term career goals.
The Spaniard was due to join Renault on a year-long loan deal from Red Bull for the start of the 2018 season, but he was able to make the switch earlier than planned once the Enstone team agreed a compensation package with Jolyon Palmer.
Sainz has been forced to retire in two of his first four races at Renault, yet he did make an immediate impression when finishing in P7 on his debut for the team.
Reflecting on his rather chaotic season, Sainz is ultimately happy with his performance and how he has adapted to change.
[At the] beginning of March [if someone had said] that my season would have gone as it has gone I would have been happy," Sainz said.
"I wanted to do a step up after my 2017 season and my step up arrived four races earlier than expected.
"To get to race with the team that I'm going to race in 2018 to get those four races is obviously a challenge, with a lot of work.
"There's a lot of effort [that has gone] into that last four races but it has paid off and it will pay off in the future."
Sainz is also proud of the fact he was able to finish P9 in the Drivers' Championship and feels he made the most of the opportunities that came his way.
He added: "I think when I had the opportunity, [when it] represented itself, when there was a chance to score big points we have been the ones scoring big points.
"That's why I'm P9 in the championship.
"Even if on occasions it has been tough to get points in the Toro Rosso or even the Renault, whenever the opportunity has presented itself we've grabbed it.
"That's why I have many points, so I can be proud of where I was."