RESULTS: Mexican Grand Prix - Qualifying results
Carlos Sainz admits he was surprised to crack the top ten in qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, even if he concedes it means he will likely spend the opening laps “looking in my mirrors”.
Like the rest of the field, Toro Rosso had been struggling to wrap their heads around the performance of the tyres and get a read on which compound works best, as a new set of tyres didn't necessarily mean a gain in performance.
“I would never have thought this track had Q3 potential and here we are beating a Force India. ['I'm] very pleased,” said Sainz.
“We had been struggling the whole qualifying, especially because we don't understand what the tyre is doing. We go out with the used tyre and do a 1m 20.2, we go out with the new we do a 1min 20.3s. It means we don't understand the peak performance of the super-soft and when you get it.”
BREAKING POINT: These F1 races really push drivers and cars to the limit
Though he may be satisfied with a strong qualifying performance, the Spaniard is wary of the team's race pace and expects a tough challenge to remain in the top ten.
However, while Sainz is happy to have out-qualified the likes of Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez, he understands that qualifying in 10th position leaves him at a disadvantage as his rivals will have a free choice of what tyre to start on.
“I feel great but probably he [Alonso] also feels great because tomorrow he has the advantage. The two Spaniards are happy. On paper, if they don't beat us, Alonso and Perez, then they need to think about something because of the straight line and strategy advantage, they have to beat us.
“I like challenges. I know I will suffer and I know I will be looking in my mirrors after five laps with the graining of the super soft and the soft coming quick, but hopefully we can hold onto it.”
by Josh Kruse
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst