Carlos Sainz says he didn't believe he could better a 'perfect' lap in Q2 during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, only to go even faster en route to sixth on the grid.

On a weekend that has seen the Toro Rosso team show impressive pace in the hands of both Sainz and Daniil Kvyat, the Spaniard says a 1min 14.8secs lap achieved in Q2 was the maximum he believed he could achieve.

However, he would go on to shave another tenth off that benchmark in Q3 and though Force India's Nico Hulkenberg usurp him with an unexpected run to fifth place, Sainz will start alongside him on row three in sixth position (once Kimi Raikkonen takes his grid penalty)

"I was really happy with my lap and I thought Hulkenberg had done a super lap out of nowhere, but then I see it's only two hundredths, and for sure there are two hundredths in my lap," said Sainz, who scored a career-best sixth place last time out in Spain.

"My lap felt really nearly the best we could do. At Turn 1 because the shadow was coming you lose a bit of reference maybe I left something, but it felt like a good one and then I see two hundredths to P5 and then I say for sure there is two hundredths somewhere if I go and find them.

"Really pleased because when I did a 1:14.8 in Q2 I told my engineers and to myself 'I cannot go much quicker than this because I have done nearly a perfect lap now' and then in Q3 I managed to do a 1:14.7 which was one tenth quicker so I couldn't have asked for much more. Maybe two hundredths more to be in P5."