Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz says “deep analysis” helped the team comeback from its problems on Friday to finish up as the top midfield car in qualifying for the British Grand Prix.
Sainz finished the top-ten shootout in eighth with a 1 minute 31.989 second lap, ahead of both Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso, who had times deleted after exceeding the track limits. With Sebastian Vettel set to drop five places due to a gearbox penalty, Sainz also gains another position and will line-up in P7.
“Since Q1 I improved I think eight tenths my lap over FP3 the first time out, so I felt really pumped up because obviously I could see Q3 was achievable,” Sainz said.
“We didn't know where we were going to lie in qualifying, but suddenly my lap in Q1 allows us to only use one set of soft tyres, like the top teams and it means we have a lot of softs for the rest of qualifying and we kept improving a couple of tenths on each run and yeah suddenly we were in Q3 with a very good lap, I think one of my best, my best lap of the season in Q2, run 2, going to a 31.7.
“Then it was just a matter of which one of the midfield was qualifying P8, if it was going to be Hulkenberg, Fernando or myself. I think I did P9 but Nico ran wide so I got the P8 so I will start P7.
“I was so happy when they told me this, the clean side of the grid, top midfield car, especially because yesterday we were one second off Force India, we didn't understand why but we did deep analysis yesterday, I think I told you I stayed here until very late and finally everything worked today.”
Asked if he was happy with the FIA's zero tolerance on track limits, he replied: “It's the same rule for everyone. I didn't go once wide, so this helped my confidence through qualifying. I'm very happy that they got the penalty because at the end it's my place, very happy.”
Meanwhile, looking to the race, Sainz is hopeful he can do well and make it seven points' finishes from 10.
“We definitely needed a good qualifying after three comebacks in the last races! Tomorrow we start in a very good position, on the clean side of the grid [as I said], and hopefully we can keep going forward - it will be a tricky race for us as the cars around us have better pace, but we will definitely try to beat our competitors and fight for as many points as possible,” he concluded.