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Carlos Sainz says his qualifying lap at the Monaco Grand Prix was the best he's achieved around the Principality, with the Toro Rosso lining up in sixth position.

Toro Rosso has been impressive throughout the weekend with both Sainz and team-mate Daniil Kvyat inside the top five during the second practice session, and their form continued into FP3 as both drivers again made a top ten appearance.

Running high on confidence, Sainz converted the pace of the STR12 to get within a second of pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen and was just under two-tenths of a second off Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo in fifth.

"My best lap around Monaco, especially because these new F1 cars feel a lot better to drive compared to last year. To really extract the last two-tenths like I did in Q3, you really need to go for it," an elated Sainz said.

"I enjoyed going for it, crashing the walls nearly in every corner and finally to cross the start/finish, you release all the air inside you, you finally breathe, you do nearly a whole lap without breathing, and you are so happy."

With Ricciardo and Max Verstappen just ahead in the sister team, one might feel Sainz would have to take it easy into the first corner to ensure he doesn't impeded either of the Red Bulls. The Spaniard has other ideas though.

"I always attack," he continued. "I don't know what Helmut Marko will tell me, but I always want to attack from the beginning because to go into a race defending is I think the worst thing you can do to your approach and to your self-esteem. So I'm going to attack at the start and then I'm going to be patient. It's a long race, more than 70 laps. We just need to be quite lucky with safety cars, with timing.

"We saw the GP2 [F2] races, you depend on the right timing of your pit stop to maintain position or gain position here. We need to keep an eye on the midfield because they're going to try some crazy things that could well work or could not. We need to keep an eye on them."

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