Carlos Sainz produced a superb performance in qualifying in Barcelona to secure fifth place on the grid – just ahead of STR team mate Max Verstappen.
Toro Rosso has been strong all weekend, but even Sainz himself was surprised to have ended Q3 in such a good position.
“It’s amazing, and at my home track,” he said. “It’s something very special, what I’m going through now, and I’m very happy with it. Now obviously all the focus on tomorrow, and if it’s not a good race tomorrow then everyone will forget about quali. So we need to keep the focus, keep the head down, because we have a good chance to score points tomorrow and we have to make it happen.
“I think it’s just the track characteristics are suiting much better our car. There are much more long corners, downforce corners, and we know we have the downforce, we have the package, and when you have these kinds of corners, the car just works. I’m very happy with what they are doing because the package from the first race has been amazing, and it’s working everywhere.”
Asked if he could challenge the cars immediately ahead he said: “Probably not, because it’s a Williams and a Ferrari, and we need to be honest with ourselves here. Our qualifying performance has always been a bit better than our race, except for Malaysia.
“But we’re going to push, we’re going to try our best, and then if a Ferrari flies past, a Ferrari flies past. You have to focus on your race performance and your tyre management, and let’s see where we finish at the end.”